Genesis 10


Joseph Fielding Smith

Our limited history records that Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives, because they were willing to hearken to the voice of the Lord, were the only persons who survived the flood. It is understood generally that the ark landed on Mount Ararat near the head waters of the Euphrates, and that civilization, after the flood, radiated from some central place in the Mesopotamia. All authentic history confirms this view. From this central point the descendants of Shem scattered towards the east, the land of Shinar, and towards the south, and in the Mesopotamia. The Hamitic family journeyed towards the southwest and into Africa. The Japhetic branch migrated to the north-west and eventually into Europe. We know from the Pearl of Great Price that Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, settled with her sons in Egypt.

The oldest civilizations, according to our historians, were founded in Egypt and the Mesopotamia. (The Progress of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 146.)

Orson F. Whitney

Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth-naming them in the order usually given. Japheth, however, was the eldest, and Ham the youngest, of these brothers. They were among the eight survivors of the Deluge; "and of them was the whole earth overspread." Japheth peopled Europe, Shem Asia, and Ham Africa. (Saturday Night Thoughts [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921], 118.)

Gen 10:2 the sons of Japheth

"As we run our eye down the catalogue of nations in Gen. 10, we have little difficulty in recognising them; and beginning with the youngest, Japheth, we find of those known to the general reader, the Cymry of Wales and Brittany (Gomer), the Scythians (Magoa), the Medes (Madai), the Greeks (Ionians, Javan), and the Thracians (Tiras). Among their descendants, the Germans, Celts, and Armenians have been traced to the three sons of Gomer." (Edersheim, Alfred, Old Testament Bible History, chap. 8)

"Tarshish may have been in Spain (60:8-9); Pul and Lud are both probably in northern Africa (Gen. 10:6Gen. 10:6, Gen. 10:13 13; Jer. 46:9Jer. 46:9; Ezek. 30:5Ezek. 30:5) Tubal is probably in Asia Minor near the Black Sea (Ezek. 32:26Ezek. 32:26; Ezek. 38:2 38:2; Ezek. 39:1 39:1) and Javan is Greece (Ezek. 27:13Ezek. 27:13)." (Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry, and Tina M. Peterson, Understanding Isaiah [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 592.)

Gen 10:2-3 Early reference to Gog and Magog

The names of the descendants of Japeth are used in Ezekiel's description of the battle of Gog and Magog. Gog is the prince or leader of the land of Magog, but look at the other names mentioned in conjunction with Gog:

Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. (Ezek. 38:2-7; names of descendants of Japeth in bold)

Ezekiel seems to be referencing latter-day nations by their original settlers. These are the nations which come against Israel in the battle of Gog and Magog. All of a sudden, knowing where the descendants of Japheth settled becomes important!

Mark E. Petersen

Noah and his sons had children after the flood, and they in turn multiplied in the earth and became numerous. It is interesting to note the names of some of them. Among the descendants of Japheth are Gomer, Magog, Tubal, Meshech, Togarmah, and Tarshish. These names are particularly interesting because they appear in the predictions of Ezekiel with regard to the battle of Armegeddon. (Noah and the Flood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 75.)

Gen 10:2-5 The sons of Japeth



Descendants of Japeth

2nd Generation from Noah

3rd Generation from Noah

Probable places of Settlement


Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah

Wales, Britain, Germany


Scythians, (modern day Ukraine and Kazakhstan)


Medes (Iran, Iraq)


Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim (Rodanim)

Ionians and Thracians (Greece), ?Spain


Near Black Sea, Georgia


Cappadocians (Asia Minor)


Gen 10:5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands

The authors of Genesis did not have a map of the world showing the seven continents we know today. Therefore, anytime a group entered a ship to get to their destination, the destination was "an isle of the sea." We see this same phenomenon in the Book of Mormon where Nephi says, "we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea. But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this." (2 Ne. 10:20-21)

The descendants of Japheth populated the Gentile, Indo-European nations after the Flood. Their places of settlement should not be restricted to "the islands" as we think of them today.

Gen 10:5 the Gentiles

"The term Gentile has been used in the following ways: (1) to refer to the descendants of Noah's son, Japheth (Gen. 10:1-5) (2) to identify those who have not descended from Abraham (Abr 3:1); (3) to classify those who have not descended from Jacob (Jacob 4:1); (4) to identify those who have not descended from Judah; and (5) to distinguish the 'non-Mormon.'" (Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 207.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

By the name Gentile is meant all those who are not Israelites and who are outside of the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The name originally had reference to the descendants of Japheth. (Gen. 10:5.) It is used frequently in the scriptures in reference to the nations not of Israel. (The Way to Perfection [Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949], 141.)

Gen 10:6-14 the sons of Ham



Descendants of Ham

2nd Generation from Noah

3rd Generation from Noah

4th Generation from Noah

Probable places of settlement


Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabtecha, and Nimrod

Sheba and Dedan from Raamah

Arabian peninsula, Ethiopia, Babylon via Nimrod


Ludim, Ananim, Lahabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim


Palestine via Casluhim


None mentioned


Sidon and Heth

Canaan, modern day Israel


Gen 10:7 Dedan

"Dedan, which was named after a son of Cush (Gen. 10:7), was a 'city and people of Northwest Arabia famous for its role in the caravan trade.'" (Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry, and Tina M. Peterson, Understanding Isaiah [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 192 - 193.)

Gen 10:8 Nimrod... began to be a mighty one in the earth

Nimrod's legacy barely survives in the Genesis account. Other accounts, however, speak exhaustively about this powerful, but wicked man.

"The first among the leaders of the corrupt men was Nimrod. His father Cush had married his mother at an advanced age, and Nimrod, the offspring of this belated union, was particularly dear to him as the son of his old age. He gave him the clothes made of skins with which God had furnished Adam and Eve at the time of their leaving Paradise. Cush himself had gained possession of them through Ham. From Adam and Eve they had descended to Enoch, and from him to Methuselah, and to Noah, and the last had taken them with him into the ark. When the inmates of the ark were about to leave their refuge, Ham stole the garments and kept them concealed, finally passing them on to his first-born son Cush. Cush in turn hid them for many years. When his son Nimrod reached his twentieth year, he gave them to him. These garments had a wonderful property. He who wore them was both invincible and irresistible. The beasts and birds of the woods fell down before Nimrod as soon as they caught sight of him arrayed in them, and he was equally victorious in his combats with men. The source of his unconquerable strength was not known to them. They attributed it to his personal prowess, and therefore they appointed him king over themselves. This was done after a conflict between the descendants of Cush and the descendants of Japheth, from which Nimrod emerged triumphant, having routed the enemy utterly with the assistance of a handful of warriors. He chose Shinar as his capital. Thence he extended his dominion farther and farther, until he rose by cunning and force to be the sole ruler of the whole world. The first mortal to hold universal sway, as the ninth ruler to possess the same power will be the Messiah.

"His impiousness kept pace with his growing power. Since the flood there had been no such sinner as Nimrod. He fashioned idols of wood and stone, and paid worship to them. But not satisfied to lead a godless life himself, he did all he could to tempt his subjects into evil ways, wherein he was aided and abetted by his son Mardon. This son of his outstripped his father in iniquity. It was their time and their life that gave rise to the proverb, 'Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness.'

"The great success that attended all of Nimrod's undertakings produced a sinister effect. Men no longer trusted in God, but rather in their own prowess and ability, an attitude to which Nimrod tried to convert the whole world. Therefore people said, 'Since the creation of the world there has been none like Nimrod, a mighty hunter of men and beasts, and a sinner before God.'

"And not all this sufficed unto Nimrod's evil desire. Not enough that he turned men away from God, he did all he could to make them pay Divine honors unto himself. He set himself up as a god, and made a seat for himself in imitation of the seat of God. It was a tower built out of a round rock, and on it he placed a throne of cedar wood, upon which arose, one above the other, four thrones, of iron, copper, silver, and gold. Crowning all, upon the golden throne, lay a precious stone, round in shape and gigantic in size. This served him as a seat, and as he sate upon it, all nations came and paid him Divine homage." (Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, 7 vols. [Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1909-38], vol. 1, "Nimrod".)

Gen 10:10-11 Babylonia and Assyria

B. H. Roberts

Babylonia and Assyria: "These were the two great Eastern empires before which all the old states of Syria and Palestine fell. We learn their history partly from the Bible narrative, and also from contemporary monuments written in cuneiform characters and recently deciphered.

"Babylonia or Shinar (Gen. 10:10) is the alluvial country on the lower course of the Euphrates and Tigris, of which Babel or Babylon was the chief city. Assyria, or Asshur, occupied the Tigris valley to the north of Babylonia. Its center lay on the left bank of the Tigris, where the great city of Nineveh stood, opposite Mosul. Babylon and Nineveh were long rivals, but they had a common civilization, of which the southern alluvium was the original home..." (Cambridge Bible Dictionary-70's Bible-p. 14). (Seventy's Course in Theology [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907-1912], 3: 48.)

Gen 10:14 Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,)

Mark E. Petersen

The most relentless foes of the Israelites were the Philistines. According to Gen. 10:14, they were descendants of Ham through Mizraim and Casluhim "out of whom came Philistim."

They occupied the coastal area of the Promised Land south of Phoenicia. The area began at what is now the location of Bethlehem and went south to the Sinai. During the reign of David, the Philistines were crowded into a very narrow strip along the coastline.

Being bitter fighters, they cruelly afflicted Israel during her sinful days and for a time virtually enslaved the chosen race. (Joshua: Man of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 30.)

Gen 10:15 Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn

"The city 'Sidon is founded by Sidon, a grandson of Ham, and is the northernmost Canaanite city (Gen. 10:15-20) the home of Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Zidon, and the wicked wife of King Ahab; she introduces Baal worship into Israel (1 Kgs. 16:31-33).' (Map: Old Testament Stories: Part One , LDS Church News, 1994, 01/01/94)

Gen 10:15 Heth

Mark E. Petersen

In the time of Abraham the descendants of Heth lived near Hebron; it was from one of them that Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah as a tomb for his wife, Sarah. (Gen. 23:1Gen. 23.) (Joshua: Man of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 26.)

Gen 10:16-18 the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, And the Hivite

The Canaanite nations listed in these verses were especially important to the biblical scribes who wrote this account. Perpetual enemies of the Israelites, these nations were wicked and idolatrous. When Joshua brought the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, the Israelites annihilated and spoiled them according to the promise of the Lord to Moses:

I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite;

Unto a land flowing with milk and honey. (Ex. 33:2-3; see also Num. 32:29; Josh. 3:10; 9:1; 11:3)

Gen 10:21 all the children of Eber

Bruce R. McConkie

Two postulates are suggested as to the origin of the name Hebrew: one, that it is derived from eber, "beyond, on the other side," Abraham and his posterity being so named to distinguish them from the races living on the other side of the Euphrates River; the other, that it embraces the descendants of Eber or Heber, one of the ancestor's of Abraham. (Gen. 10:24.)

Abraham and Joseph were called Hebrews (39:14-18), and then during the entire pre-Christian Era the whole house of Israel, including the members of all the tribes, were so designated. (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 348.)

Russell M. Nelson

Are you Hebrew? Yes, as scriptures define the term. You are related to Abraham, who was a descendant of the great "Eber" from which the term Hebrew was derived. (Perfection Pending, and Other Favorite Discourses [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 206 - 207.)

Gen 10:21-31 the sons of Shem


Descendants of Shem

2nd Gen. from Noah

3rd Gen. from Noah

4th Gen. from Noah

Probable settlements


Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash

Armenia, Elam (see map 5), Damascus, Bactrians and Mesaneans





Eber who begat Peleg and Joktan



Lydians (Turkey)




Gen 10:25 Peleg... in his days was the earth divided

"It appears that the earth when created was one land mass and one ocean (see Moses 2:9-10), but the land was later divided into continents and islands, which of course also divided the ocean. In Gen. 10:25 reference is made to a time when the earth (land) was divided, as into continents. Such a concept is given credence by latter-day revelation as recorded in D&C 133:24, which tells of a time yet future when 'the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.' This seems to be speaking of land mass, not of people or culture. How long or in what manner such an event would take place I do not profess to know, but the idea is consistent with the law and plan of restoration (see also JST, Rev. 6:14)." (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings of Robert J. Matthews: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 397.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

After the flood, in the days of Peleg, the earth was divided.-See Gen. 10:25,-a short history, to be sure, of so great an event; but still it will account for the mighty revolution, which rolled the sea from its own place in the north, and brought it to interpose between different portions of the earth, which were thus parted asunder, and moved into something near their present form; this, together with the earthquakes, revolutions, and commotions which have since taken place, have all contributed to reduce the face of the earth to its present state; while the great curses which have fallen upon different portions, because of the wickedness of men, will account for the stagnant swamps, the sunken lakes, the dead seas, and great deserts. (Man, His Origin and Destiny [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 385.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

The notion prevails quite generally that the dividing of the earth in the days of Peleg was a division politically among the people, but from this word of the Lord we gain the idea that the earth itself was divided and that when Christ comes it will again be brought back to the same conditions physically as prevailed before this division took place. The sea is to be driven back into the north. The land is to be brought back as it was originally and the lands of Zion (America) and Jerusalem (Palestine and all the land pertaining unto it) will be restored to their own place as they were in the beginning. The Savior will stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh. We have discovered in our study that the wicked, or all things that are corruptible (D&C 101:23-25), will be consumed and therefore will not be permitted to be on the earth when this time comes. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 2: 35.)

John Taylor

In the days of Peleg the Lord divided the earth, hence the eastern and western hemisphere, doubtless thinking by doing so he would have a better opportunity to preserve some of the human family from going down to perdition. But still the devil found ready access to the hearts of the people generally, and many became so corrupt that God had to destroy them. But before allowing his justice to overtake them, he saved unto himself certain good seed and planted it in different parts of his vineyard. (Unlocking the Old Testament [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 11.)

Gen 10:25 his brother's name was Joktan

"The earliest Arabians, according to the Bible, were the descendants of Joktan, who lived five generations after the flood. The Joktanites lived in the fertile regions of southern Arabia, and were the 'Arabians that were near the Ethiopians.' They were traders, some of whom in later years actually crossed the Red Sea to settle in Ethiopia. One of the sons of Joktan was Sheba, ancestor of the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon.

"The northern Arabian tribes were, for the most part, descended from Abraham through Ishmael, son of his Egyptian wife, Hagar. His descendants inhabited the coastal area of western Arabia." (John Tvedtnes, "Who Is an Arab?" Ensign, Apr. 1974, 27)

Gen 10:32 by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood

The following Ensign article lists the early families of the earth and other biblical references to their descendants:

12. SHEM (Sem)-Father of the Semitic people. Gen. 5:32; Gen. 10:21; Gen. 11:10; Moses 8:12, 27; 1 Chr. 1:4; Luke 3:36.

13. ARPHAXAD-Gen. 10:22; Gen. 11:10-13; 1 Chr. 1:17; Luke 3:36.

14. SALAH (Shelah or Sala)-Gen. 10:24; Gen. 11:12-15; 1 Chr. 1:18; Luke 3:35.

15. EBER (Heber)-Gen. 10:24; Gen. 11:14-17; 1 Chr. 1:18; Luke 3:35. Jewish tradition suggests that the name Hebrew is derived from the name Eber.

16. PELEG (Phalec)-"... in his days was the earth divided ..." (Gen. 10:25; see also D&C 133:19-24). Gen. 11:16-17; 1 Chr. 1:19; Luke 3:35.

17. REU (Ragau)-Gen. 11:18-21; 1 Chr. 1:25; Luke 3:35.

18. SERUG (Saruch)-Gen. 11:20-23; 1 Chr. 1:26; Luke 3:35.

19. NAHOR (Nachor)-Gen. 11:22-25; 1 Chr. 1:26; Luke 3:34.

20. TERAH (Thara)-Gen. 11:24-27; 1 Chr. 1:26; Luke 3:34.

21. ABRAHAM (Abram)-Gen. 11:26-27; 1 Chr. 1:27; Luke 3:34.

22. CAIN-Gen. 4:1; Moses 5:16.

23. ABEL-Gen. 4:2; Moses 5:17; Moses 6:2; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 58-59.

24. ENOCH-Gen. 4:17; Moses 5:42. (This Enoch should not be confused with the righteous Enoch, son of Jared.)

25. IRAD-Gen. 4:18; Moses 5:43.

26. MEHUJAEL-Gen. 4:18; Moses 5:43.

27. METHUSAEL-Gen. 4:18; Moses 5:43.

28. LAMECH-Gen. 4:18-19; Moses 5:43-44.

29. JABEL-Gen. 4:20; Moses 5:45.

30. JUBAL-Gen. 4:21; Moses 5:45.

31. TUBAL-CAIN-Gen. 4:22; Moses 5:46.

32. NAAMAH-Gen. 4:22; Moses 5:46.

33. HAM-Father of the Hamitic peoples. Gen. 5:32; Moses 8:12; 1 Chr. 1:4.

34. EGYPTUS-Abr. 1:21-23. This woman was the wife of Ham and a descendant of Cain.

35. CUSH-Gen. 10:6; 1 Chr. 1:8. Traditionally, Cush has been translated as "Ethiopia" in reference to his descendants.

36. MIZRAIM-Gen. 10:6; 1 Chr. 1:8. This is the Hebrew word for Egypt.

37. PHUT (Put)-Gen. 10:6; 1 Chr. 1:8.

38. CANAAN-Gen. 10:6; 1 Chr. 1:8. The descendants of Canaan were called Canaanites, and the land where they dwelt was called Canaan.

39. EGYPTUS-Abr. 1:23-26. This Egyptus was the daughter of Ham and Egyptus and the mother of the first Pharaoh in Egypt.

40. DESCENDANTS OF MIZRAIM-Gen. 10:13-14; 1 Chr. 1:11-12.

41. PHILISTIM-Gen. 10:14; 1 Chr. 1:12. He was a descendant of Casluhim, son of Mizraim, from whom the Philistines came.

42. SIDON (Zidon)-Gen. 10:15, 19; 1 Chr. 1:13. (A great coastal city of the Phoenicians was also named Sidon.)

43. HETH-Gen. 10:15; 1 Chr. 1:13. The descendants of this man were known as Hittites.

44. DESCENDANTS OF CUSH-Gen. 10: 7-8; 1 Chr. 1:9-10.

45. NIMROD-Gen. 10:8-12; 1 Chr. 1:10. Nimrod was an empire builder in Babylonia, and Jewish tradition holds that he was the builder of the tower at Babel.

46. JAPHETH-Gen. 5:32; Gen. 10:1-2, 5; Moses 8:12, 27; 1 Chr. 1:4. This man was generally regarded as the father of the Aryan or Indo-European peoples referred to scripturally as gentiles.

47. DESCENDANTS OF JAPHETH-Gen. 10:2; 1 Chr. 1:5. Japheth's son Madai is usually translated as Medes when referring to his descendants, and Japheth's son Javan has the same name as the Hebrew word for Ionians or, generally speaking, the Greeks.

48. DESCENDANTS OF GOMER-Gen. 10:3; 1 Chr. 1:6.

49. DESCENDANTS OF JAVAN-Gen. 10:4; 1 Chr. 1:7. The name of Javan's son Kittim is also used to refer to the island of Cyprus and its inhabitants.

50. CANAANITES-Gen. 10:16-18; 1 Chr. 1:14-16. This is the general name given to the peoples who were the descendants of Ham's son Canaan.

51. ELAM-Gen. 10:22; 1 Chr. 1:17. The southernmost part of the Tigris-Euphrates valley was also known by this name.

52. ASSHUR-Gen. 10:22; 1 Chr. 1:17. The northern portion of the Tigris-Euphrates valley was also known as Asshur, meaning Assyria when translated.

53. LUD-Gen. 10:22; 1 Chr. 1:17. The descendants of Lud are generally known as the Lydians.

54. ARAM-Gen. 10:22; 1 Chr. 1:17. This name is also translated as Syria.

55. DESCENDANTS OF ARAM-Gen. 10:23; 1 Chr. 1:17.

56. JOKTAN-Gen. 10:25-30; 1 Chr. 1:19-23. This man was the brother of Peleg and had an unusually large family that included thirteen sons.

57. DESCENDANTS OF JOKTAN-Gen. 10: 26-29; 1 Chr. 1:20-23.

(Edward J. Brandt, "Early Families of the Earth," Ensign, Mar. 1973, 17)