A New Beginning
March 13, 2023, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Culture

Chapter 4

        Just as in our lives, everything has a beginning and an end, yet after the ending of one beginning, there is a new beginning. We read of the flood and now the flood has ended and Noah and his family have found the first of the dry ground and they let the animals free to wander about on the earth. In chapter 8 of Genesis we read this: Gen 8:20-22 ESV  Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.  (21)  And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.  (22)  While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

        So this beginning is still going on, for God promised that he would not destroy the earth again as he had just destroyed it. Note that God knows that evil will again raise it’s ugly head, but He will not destroy the earth as he had just done. Instead there will be a day of reckoning in the future which is predicted over and over again in the prophetic books and in the New Testament book of Revelation. Of course that is for another day and another book. As we saw in the beginning when Adam sinned by taking the fruit that Eve had handed him, sin comes upon us with no warning, DON’T DO THIS, the problem is we do it and move further away from God.

        Now there is another beginning, that is why we call the New Testament, by the name New Testament. That new beginning will be seen after we talk a bit about what happens now that Noah and his sons have set up housekeeping on the dry land again.

        Noah planted a field and became a farmer, he also planted a vineyard and after a couple of years he finally got to the place where he produced wine, and then he tasted his own wine and got drunk. That is not a big deal, however he passed out and was naked as he could be. Ham his son came into the tent, saw his fathers nakedness, and then spread the word that the old man was drunk and passed out and he was exposed, go take a look. His brothers did not look, they took a cover and put it on their shoulders and walked backward into the tent and covered their father.

        Gen 9:20-23 ESV  Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.  (21)  He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.  (22)  And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside.  (23)  Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

        In the next verses we see why this is important: Gen 9:24-27 ESV  When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him,  (25)  he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”  (26)  He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.  (27)  May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

        Ham was the actual sinner, but he had already received God’s blessing, Canaan was his firstborn, so the curse went to the firstborn instead of the father. Canaan, is the name of the land where the people of Israel were brought by God, and it became the Holy Land of Israel as we know it from the scriptures. Many of the tribes of Canaan, no longer exist today, although some do and they are a part of the Palestinians of today.

        Let us now take a look at the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth and where they settled as they spread out over the earth. The sons of Japeth are first: Gen 10:2-5 ESV  The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.  (3)  The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.  (4)  The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.  (5)  From these the coastland peoples spread in their lands, each with his own language, by their clans, in their nations.

        Next are the sons of Ham: Gen 10:6-20 ESV  The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan.  (7)  The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.  (8)  Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man.  (9)  He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.”  (10)  The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.  (11)  From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and  (12)  Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.  (13)  Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim,  (14)  Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.  (15)  Canaan fathered Sidon his firstborn and Heth,  (16)  and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites,  (17)  the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites,  (18)  the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the clans of the Canaanites dispersed.  (19)  And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon in the direction of Gerar as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.  (20)  These are the sons of Ham, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations.

        Finally are the sons of Shem: Gen 10:21-31 ESV  To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born.  (22)  The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.  (23)  The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.  (24)  Arpachshad fathered Shelah; and Shelah fathered Eber.  (25)  To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan.  (26)  Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,  (27)  Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,  (28)  Obal, Abimael, Sheba,  (29)  Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan.  (30)  The territory in which they lived extended from Mesha in the direction of Sephar to the hill country of the east.  (31)  These are the sons of Shem, by their clans, their languages, their lands, and their nations.

        A closer look at the tribes and where they end up is sometimes very difficult but some are quite clear: From Japheth we find Gomer settles in the area that is today Poland, Austria and other parts of eastern Europe in the caucasus regions. Magog settled in what today is the area of Russia and Siberia. Madai settled in the area of Persia. Javan settles in southern Greece. Tubal settled in what is today Northern Turkey. Meshech settled in what today would be Afghanistan, Pakistan, India. Tiras in what today would be Austria. From there their descendents spread out across those areas as their independent tribes grew in strength.

        The sons of Ham: Cush settled in what today is North Eastern Africa, Ethiopia, Sudan. Egypt, also referred to as Mizraim settled in the area known today as Egypt. Put settled in what today is Libya. Canaan settled in what we know as Palestine or Biblical Canaan.

        Finally we come to the sons of Shem: Elam settled in the area of Persia (Iran). Asshur settled in modern day Syria (Assyria). It is not known where Arparcshad settled. Lud settled in what today would be Algeria. Aram settled in Syria/Mesopatamia. This of course all happens after the buidling of the Tower of Babel in what is today Babylon in Iraq. Of course as you read the story in the Bible you will see that this happened a couple of generations after the sons of Noah had the children and grandchildren and died.

        The Bible is primarily interested in the descendants of Shem as that is where Abraham comes from later on. This though is the beginning after the flood, these all spoke the same language, and were pretty much in the same area, the separation happens when the tower of Babel is built and God fixes it so no one understands each other, each of the groups have their own languages and so they disperse to different parts of the world, and as they grow in size they also take other territory and move further apart. It is believed that the Oriental peoples actually came from Japhet, and the African people from Ham, of course it is their descendants again, not they themselves.

        The idea of course is that this is the second beginning. Even though they call upon the name of God, and they know about the Flood and the reasons for it, they continue in their own ways, getting further and further from the truth of God. Sin has a way of getting into the hearts and minds of people and convincing them that what they are doing is OK so they go deeper into the wrong path.

        The sinfulness of some groups became so bad that God intervened in what was going on, as in the case of Babel, God made the people unable to communicate with one another and that ended the building of the tower into heaven so they could be like God. Many people in many places have had the same idea, although today in our own world many have decided that they are their own god and do not need some outside influence to get them through life.

        As we read the scriptures we find that mankind at least many of them continue down the roads of sinful living. God will finally pick Abraham to be the father of 12 tribes who will become the people called Israel. In the centuries after the flood, mankind moves further and further from God, not all of course but a great many do so. They believe that they can better run their own lives than those who pray to this one called God, waiting for direction for their lives.

        During this time in history, God gives many second chances, he does find some people to be so wicked that he destroys their entire tribe, later on God will use the people of Israel to take over the land that he has promised to Abraham. There will be much in the way of pain and suffering in the people who are descended from Abraham, but there will also be many blessings. As you read the books of what we call the Old Testament, you will see the pain and suffering of the Jewish People, and the reasons for most of it.

        God cannot abide sin, and the people are sinful, but there are men and women who God declares to be men and women after his own heart. God says that Abraham is one of those and God makes a covenant with Abraham. Yet we read that Abraham was a sinner in many ways, but the key was his recognition that God would forgive him as he came to his senses and asked for forgiveness. The same can be said for King David, he was an adulterer, a murderer and many other sins were his, yet he was shown to be a man after God’s own heart. We are now in the time after Noah and his descendants have settled into their respective areas in the world. It is not possible for me to write of all the things that happened up until the time of Abraham, but I think it will be a good idea to give a short capitulation of the things that bring us to see how God deals with his people over the centuries.

        Abraham was living in Mesopotamia, his name was Abram at this time, God speaks to him telling him to move from his home and his family to a place which God will show him. “Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1 ESV). So of course Abram heeds God and immediately leaves everything and everybody to go to a place where God will lead him. Sorry, not hardly, first they moved to Haran: “Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. (Genesis 11:31 ESV)

        God then speaks to Abram so that he will leave his Father and his family to go from there to the land he will show him. His father dies there in Haran, and Abram takes his family, Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew and they go to follow God.

        Abram will finally settle in Canaan after some events, one of them being the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by God because of their absolute sinfulness. He does finally have a son and his name is changed by God from Abram to Abraham.

        In Genesis 15 we see God make a covenant with Abram regarding what shall be for him and Sarai in the future and for their offspring, he promises that Sarai will have a son to be the heir to Abram. In Genesis 17 God changes the name of Abram to Abraham (Father of a multitude), because he will be the father of many nations. Sarai becomes Sarah and God says that she will be mother to many kings, through her son to be. This does happen, but the people who God calls Israel are as all mankind sinners, they keep making the same mistakes and God keeps punishing them until finally they are exiled from the land that God promised them. However, the story of Israel is one of wonder and joy, as well as heartache and pain. God has given them back the land, actually a very small piece of that which had been promised, and which they never did fully possess. Now we come to the end of this admittedly short part of the story.

        There is of course a great deal of sin and suffering, you can read it all in the books of the Old Testament. There is also much of prophecy about all that is to be in the books of the prophets especially Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and of course Daniel.

        All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23, simply because we are human beings, we are finite creatures, we are not and cannot be perfect. There was only one man who was perfect, the man Jesus the Christ. It is time to close this chapter and move on to the rest of the story.

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