Sailhamer, John H. The Pentateuch As Narrative Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.
Chapter 1, “Genesis” pp. 81-240.
Part 1D, “Sons of Noah (10:1-32)” pp. 130-134.
Chapter 10 of Genesis describes population spread and growth after the flood. “These names give the reader a panoramic view of the nations as a backdrop for the remainder of the events in Genesis and the Torah” (Sailhamer 1992, 130). Sailhamer points out that there are exactly seventy names presented, a “kind of numerical symbolism in which the concept of a totality of nations is expressed in the number seventy” (Sailhamer 1992, 130). We will see the number again, as it counts the “seed of Abraham” at the end of Genesis (Sailhamer 1992, 131). The selectivity of names is apparent, as, for instance, some of the grandsons of Japheth being bypassed though they became nations. The arrangement begins with the outlying regions and moves to the center of God’s chosen people, with the children of Shem coming last. Sailhamer finally observes (Sailhamer 1992, 134) that chapter ten is a geographical and historical description of what will be discussed theologically in chapter eleven.