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of such inaccuracies is quite sufficient to invalidate the belief entertained by the ancient commentators, of the pure historical truth of the whole pedigree. For, besides the impossibility of all the great nations of that time—the Babylonians in full possession of an extensive territory, the Phænicians engaged in enterprising voyages to Spain, and others—having spread, within three or four centuries, from one family, of which the mere supposition was long ago controverted'; the idea of these nations having been derived from one common source, as at the present time the Wahabites trace their descent from Abdul Waheb, is disproved by the very names in the genealogy; indeed some of these names are appellatives, as 'Eber, country on the other side'; others are derived from districts, as Mizraim?; while others indicate, by their plural termination, an aggregation of nations; and again other names, such as Sheleph and Peleg, are simply fictitious. This applies even to the sons of Noah, as they are called, who stand at the head of the whole genealogy.
From Japheth are traced the scattered nations in the north and west, inhabiting the country from Greece to the mountainous district of western Asia; and the narrator, as already stated, is obliged to choose the Aramæan signification of the verb vathah, in order to construct this name, whose form Yefeth or Yaft [Japheth], in imitation of similar Hebrew proper names, is framed from the future Hiphil; since undoubtedly a name of similar sound was
| See Michaeler, Völkerstämme (Lineage of Nations), i. 28; Eichhorn, Einleitung, ii. $ 428.
2 [The two Egypts, upper and lower.]
present to his mind, with which he wished to connect the Semitic derivation of extent or extended district.
The south was apportioned to Ham, a name which signifies hot. Ammonia was the name given by the ancients to the whole of Africa. Egypt bore the indigenous name of Xnui. And, although these words may admit of another interpretation from a language which is not Semitic, yet it is evident that the Hebrew writer had in his mind generally the warm land of the south.
Shem may signify high-land, but it may also mean glory; and the latter sense was probably intended by the author, that his progenitors might be introduced to notice with a brilliant name, just as the Slavi or Slavonians derive their name from slava, glory. The table of genealogy is clearly of Israelitish arrangement, which is shown by the order adopted: Shem and his descendants are mentioned last, in order, as we have before observed, that the history of the Hebrew nation might follow in a natural course of development; and the narrator also takes care to remark, that Shem was the first-born of Noah, in order that his claims may have a priority over those of other nations.
Upon a close examination, we perceive that there were political reasons, as well as circumstances occurring at the time, which caused particular nations to be placed before others, and which led to their being grouped together. No other people is derived from the Scythians, because their appearance [in western Asia] was too transitory; nor from Media, because it had only of late acquired its independence. The tribes of Palestine, and especially the Phænicians, are separated from the Hebrews as if they belonged to another race, in consequence of the variance
1 See Genesis ix. 27.
which existed between them. We cannot therefore be assured, in the case of names whose signification is uncertain, whether political and religious reasons may not have induced the compiler to connect them with nations better known.
In general, however, the succession as well as the position of the principal nations in the pedigree, with regard to one another, afford the surest indications of the date of the composition; and the supposition advanced, even in modern times, that this genealogical table originated in the time of Moses, (in support of which opinion sacerdotal archives of Egypt and Phænicia have been adduced), is so destitute of critical proof, that we may leave it to those who content themselves with simple credence, without regard to the grounds on which their faith rests. Hartmann! correctly referred this genealogy to the period of the Babylonish exile. Pustkuchen2 considers the first ten chapters of Genesis as belonging to the same period, because Assyria, Nineveh and the country generally beyond the Euphrates were at that time first known to the Hebrews. Winer3 places the national pedigree towards the end of the period of the exile; and in fact, it was about the time of Josiah that the Kimmerians and Scythians (who were on the frontiers of the Chaldæan kingdom) acquired importance, and nearly at the same period all the allusions contained in this chapter obtained their particular interest.
Nations are here mentioned on their first appearance in history, rising as it were just at that time into distinction, while Nineveh does not appear (verse 11) to have been as yet destroyed, an event which occurred in the year B.c. 597. The Hebrews had at that time entered into nearer relations with very powerful nations; of which even the more distant ones had dealings with Tyre, a circumstance which is mentioned by the contemporary writer Ezekiel, who thus affords an important authentication of the principal facts stated in the chapter before us, often arranging the names of the nation in the same order as in the text. Such a knowledge of foreign nations must have been obtained from the industrious Phænicians themselves, who had their agents at Jerusalem; and the occurrence of the individual names in much later writings of the Hebrews clearly proves that the pedigree in which they are found cannot be of any very remote antiquity.
1 Aufklär. über Asien (Researches respecting Asia), i. 19.
2 Untersuchungen über die Urgeschichte (Examination of Primæval History).
3 Realwörterbuch, p. 398.
Great acuteness and learning have been applied to the explanation of this chapter, ever since the time of Josephus'; indeed the highly valuable commentaries of Bochart”, as well as the remarks of Michaelis and Schulthess“, are well known to every Biblical critic. There are however in the genealogy many names (probably of only a temporary value) which we cannot explain, and which may be passed by without any prejudice to the general purport of the narrative; since the great nations of the ancient world form the leading branches in the pedigree, with which the less important ones are associated merely as subordinate details.
1 Archæol. i. 6.
? Phaleg et Canaan. 3 Spicilegium Geographiæ Hebræorum exteræ (Collection made from the best sources, of the foreign geography known to the Hebrews): Göttingen, 1769.
4 Das Paradiess nebst Commentar über Genes. (Paradise, with a Commentary on Genesis): Zürich, 1821.
We shall therefore select only the more probable explanations from among the numerous attempts at interpretation which have been made, bearing in mind the following rules which Schlözerl first laid down, and which are in fact contained in the genealogy itself: viz. that the explanation of the names given is only to be sought for in the language of the people who used them, and that a preference is to be given to such derivations of names as naturally refer either to nations dwelling near to one another, or to those situated geographically in the same general order in which they are here mentioned, or to nations which have been arranged more or less exactly in a similar order by other writers not belonging to the Hebrew nation.
A brief summary of this pedigree, with some variations, occurs in 1 Chron. i. 5-23, and the points of difference with the various readings of particular passages both in Genesis and the Chronicles merit a careful examination, as truth is frequently elicited by the comparison of similar genealogical tables.
Allgemeine Weltgeschichte (General History of the World), xxxi. 286.