Egypt, Israel, and the Ancient Mediterranean World: Studies in Honor of Donald B. Redford

By Gary N. Knoppers; Antoine Hirsch | Go to book overview

THE CONCEPTION OF HAM AND HIS SONS IN THE
TABLE OF NATIONS (GEN 10:6–20)

A. Malamat

The tripartite division of mankind in the table of Nations (Genesis 10)1Shem, Ham and Japhet— has usually been explained on the basis of a geographical, ethnic or political factor, or a mixture thereof. Here, we shall focus on the sons of Ham (Gen 10:6–20; 1 Chr 1:8–16).2 The genealogy of Ham is sandwiched between that of Japhet and Shem. The direct offspring of Ham are Cush and Egypt, Put and Canaan (rhetorically two pairs) enumerated from south to north.

It is difficult to identify all four names and scholars are divided in their opinion. Cush is probably Nubia—Ethiopia3 and not Southern Arabia or the tribe of Kwšw of the Execration Texts and other sources in the north of Sinai and south of Transjordan.4Mizraim is Egypt proper, while Put most likely refers to Libya or Cyrenaica, an identification already found in Josephus (Ant. I 2, 11 132–133).5 Many scholars think of Punt (in or near Somalia), but Punt is spelled with

and not with as is Put. Finally, Canaan is most probably the

1 G. Hölscher, Drei Erdkarten: Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung des hebröischen Alkrtums
(Heidelberg 1949) Chap.5; S. Loewenstamm (Ham), Encyc. Biblica 3 (Jerusalem, 1958
(Hebrew), cols 162/164 (with a reference to the article of B. Mazar, mentioned below
in n. 7); A. Reubeni, The Peoples of the Ancient Near East, (Jerusalem, 1969 [Hebrew])
62–100; E. “Isaac” (Ham) ABD 3 (1992) 31–32; B. Oded, “The table of Nations
(Genesis 10),” ZAW 98 (1986) 14–30; H. Cazelles, “Tables des peuples, nations et
mode de vie,” Biblica et Semitica (Memorial F. Vattioni), Napoli 1999, 67–79.

2 For biblical commentaries on the genealogy of Ham see: B. Jacob, Genesis
(Berlin, 1934) 197–216; U. Cassuto, From Noah to Abraham (Jerusalem, 1964) 197-
216; C. Westermann, Genesis 1 (Neukirchen, 1974) 681–99; G.J. Wenham, Genesis
1–15 (WBC; Waco, Texas, 1995) 117–215. Cf. E.A. Speiser, IDB 3 (1962) 235–42
(see also the literature in n. 1).

3 For Nubia-EUiiopia, see e.g., W. Wilson, The Burden of Egypt (Chicago, 1951, 1954)
164–71, 292–93; J. Simons, The Geographical and Topographical Texts of the Old Testament
(Leiden, 1959) 18–21 (Cush) and there for Egypt—Mizraim, 26/7, and Puh, 75/76;
T. Säve-Söderbergh, “Kusch,” Lexicon der Ägyptologie (Wiesbaden, 1980) 888–93.

4 As held by Cassuto (above, n. 2) 198.

5 Thus Pul occurring in Jeremiah and Ezekiel is translated by the LXX as Libya.
On Pu( see also Simons (above n. 3).

-359-

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