Another list chapter, subtitled "Who's your daddy?":
Japheth had sons, one of whom was Gomer, who had sons Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmath. I feel like I'm reading the cast of characters for a Dungeons and Dragons Tournament. Japheth also had a son named Javan, who had Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim (I think it's a whole people named, not some bad-ass with 'the' in the front of their name) and the Rodanim. The author wants us to know that these are the maritime peoples, who spread out, presumably by boat, "each with its own language."
Ham had sons (Virginia was his daughter? -badum-ching)one of whom was Cush. Cush had Raamah, who then had Sheba and Dedan. Cush was also the father of Nimrod, who was a really great hunter. So much so the author alludes to a saying they apparently had, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord." Oh, THAT Nimrod. Wow, you must be VERY proud. No word yet on what circumstance called for such a saying. Maybe it was a pick-up line?
Nimrod had a kingdom whose centers were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh. (This part feels like if someone from 2000 years in the future came back and I sang the 50 states song to them. They'd give us a blank look, wouldn't they?) Then he went into Assyria--hey I know that one!--and set up Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen.
Another son of Ham (mmmmmm) was Mizraim, who was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphutuites. . . Parasites. . .Calisthenics. . . Eurypterids. . .zzzzzzz
Oh! the Casluhites "(from whom the Philistines came)" well that rings a bell.
The other son of Ham was Canaan, who had Sidon, and was the father of the Hittites, (the Hittites I learned about in high school world history were the first to smelt iron in that area) Jebusites, Amorites, Gigagigantors, Hivie-skivies, Arkanes, Sincopatics, Aardvarks, zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Ugh. Where were we? Wow, sage spiritual advice in THIS chapter, let me tell you. But we take the good with the. . .lists of people long dead, I suppose.
Later, the Canaanite peoples were scattered, and the borders of the land reached right from Sidon to Gerar! Which is . . big? Small? This was surely more poignant 2000 years ago. Well, that's maybe giving it too much credit. But "these are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages"--note that languages is plural.
Shem also got busy. He "was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber." Shem had Arphaxad, who was the father of Shelah, and Shelah was the father of Eber. Eber had two sons, one of whom was Peleg, in his time the earth was divided. His brother was Joktan, who had a whole bunch of kids, and they lived in the "eastern hill country," where they filmed episodes of Hee-Haw.
Wow, that's a helluva genetic bottleneck, did all these cousin-kissers end up growing thumbs out of their forehead? --Oh, I forgot. God is magic. And the authors were under the impression that people, like amoebas, could reproduce endlessly from a few organisms and build a mighty fine empire. What am I saying? They didn't know about amoebas.
From these sons, the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.