Genesis 10:15 MEANING

Genesis 10:15
(15-18) Canaan.--The meaning of this name is uncertain, as, most probably, it is a Hamitic word: if derived from a Semitic root, it may mean the lowland. Though the Canaanites spoke a Semitic tongue at the time when we find them in Palestine, yet the assertion of the Bible that they were Hamites is confirmed by the testimony of profane writers, who say that their original home was on the Indian Ocean. They had probably been driven thence by the pressure of Semitic races, with whose language they had thus already become familiar; and when, farther, they found a Semitic people thinly spread over Palestine, they may, while absorbing them, have been confirmed in the use of their tongue. So, subsequently, Abraham gave up Syriac for Hebrew; and though these are kindred dialects, yet they are often remote enough from one another (see Genesis 31:47). On the other hand, the whole character of the Canaanite religion and thought was Hamitic, and while they Were active in commercial pursuits, and in culture far in advance of the Greeks, to whom they gave their alphabet, they were intensely sensuous in their worship and voluptuous in their manners. They are divided into eleven tribes, namely:--

1. Sidon.--This is remarkable as being the only town mentioned in the account either of Mizraim or of Canaan. All the rest are apparently the names of tribes still wandering about; and thus we gain a clearer idea both of the antiquity of this early record, and also of the great advance made by Nimrod in founding so many cities. Sidon, situated on the sea-shore, about thirty miles north of Tyre, became thus early a settled community and the seat of social life, because of its advantages for fishing (whence its name is derived), and also for commerce.

2. Heth.--The Kheta, or Hittites, a powerful race, whose language and monuments have recently become the object of careful study. They seem subsequently to have possessed not only Syria, but a large portion of Asia Minor. (See Note on Genesis 23:3; Genesis 23:5.)

3. The Jebusite.--This race held the territory afterwards occupied by Benjamin, and retained Jerusalem until the time of David (2 Samuel 5:6-9. See Note on Genesis 14:18.)

4. The Amorite.--Or rather, Emorite, that is, mountaineer. Next to the Kheta, or Hittites, they were the most powerful race in Palestine, holding the hill country of Judea, where they had five kings (Joshua 10:5), and a large district on the eastern side of the Jordan (2 Samuel 9:10).

5. The Girgasite.--Mentioned in Joshua 24:11, but otherwise unknown.

6. The Hivite.--At Sichern (Genesis 34:2), at Gibeon (Joshua 9:7), and near Hermon and Lebanon (Joshua 11:3; Judges 3:3).

7. The Arkite.--Also in Lebanon.

8. The Sinite.--A small tribe in the same neighbourhood.

9. The Arvadite.--A more important people, inhabiting the island Aradus.

10. The Zemarite.--An obscure people, inhabiting Samyra, in Ph?nicia.

11. The Hamathite whose city, Hamath, was the capital of Northern Syria. It was situated on the river Orontes, and though called Epiphaneia by the Macedonians, still retains its ancient name. The Kheta subsequently gained the supremacy at Hamath, and had their capital in the immediate neighbourhood.

Afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.--This may mean either that they spread inwards, or may refer to the numerous colonies of the Tyrians on the Mediterranean. While in Babylonia the Hamites are described as black, this branch was called Ph?nicians, from their ruddy colour, in contrast with the olive-coloured Semitic stock. As they came by sea from the Indian Ocean, their earliest settlement was on the coast, and thus Sidon is called "the first-born" of Ham. Thence they advanced into the interior, and though few in number, absorbed by their superior culture the inhabitants of Palestine. It is probably this expansion inwards which is here referred to.

Verse 15. - And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn. A famous commercial and maritime town on the coast of Syria (1 Kings 5:6; 1 Chronicles 22:4; Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Ezekiel 27:8); here including Tyre. From the mention of the circumstance that Sidon was Canaan's firstborn, we may infer that in the rest of the table the order of seniority is not followed. And Heth. The father of the Hittites (Genesis 23:3, 5), identified by Egyptologers with the Kheta, a powerful Syrian tribe.

10:15-32 The posterity of Canaan were numerous, rich, and pleasantly seated; yet Canaan was under a Divine curse, and not a curse causeless. Those that are under the curse of God, may, perhaps, thrive and prosper in this world; for we cannot know love or hatred, the blessing or the curse, by what is before us, but by what is within us. The curse of God always works really, and always terribly. Perhaps it is a secret curse, a curse to the soul, and does not work so that others can see it; or a slow curse, and does not work soon; but sinners are reserved by it for a day of wrath Canaan here has a better land than either Shem or Japheth, and yet they have a better lot, for they inherit the blessing. Abram and his seed, God's covenant people, descended from Eber, and from him were called Hebrews. How much better it is to be like Eber, the father of a family of saints and honest men, than the father of a family of hunters after power, worldly wealth, or vanities. Goodness is true greatness.And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn,.... Canaan is the fourth son of Ham; the posterity of Phut, his third son, are omitted: the firstborn of Canaan was Sidon, from whom the city of Sidon had its name, being either built by himself, who called it after his own name, or by some of his posterity, who called it so in memory of their ancestor: it was a very ancient city, more ancient than Tyre, for that was built by the Sidonians; Homer makes mention of it, but not of Tyre: it is now called Said, as it was in the times of Benjamin of Tudela (f). Justin (g) says it had its name from the plenty of fish on its coasts; but, since Canaan had a son of this name, it was no doubt so called from him.

And Heth; the father of the Hittites, who dwelt about Hebron, on the south of the land of Canaan; for when Sarah died, the sons of Heth were in possession of it, Genesis 23:2 of this race were the Anakim, or giants, drove out from hence by Caleb, Numbers 13:22 and these Hittites became terrible to men in later times, as appears from 2 Kings 7:6 hence signifies to terrify, affright, and throw into a consternation.

(f) Itinerarium. p. 34. (g) E. Trogo, l. 18. c. 3.

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