To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan. Joktan begot Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were the sons of Joktan. And their dwelling place was from Mesha as you go toward Sephar, the mountain of the east. These were the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their languages, in their lands, according to their nations. These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood. (Genesis 10:25-32)
The Greatest Migration
Genealogies are not the most exciting passage to read. You can’t pronounce most of the names and it becomes an endless whom begot whom and who and so forth. But often there are many nuggets of information embedded that make a great story. After the flood the three sons of Noah became having children and grandchildren and the earth was being populated again. Moses tells us in the days of Peleg (sounds like a pirate name) the earth was divided. The end of chapter ten relates the same message of the earth being divided. The story of the tower of Babel is mixed into this genealogy after the Lord confused the languages He scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. What a traffic jam that must have been.
You start with eight people. Three sons are the headwaters of all mankind as the descendants of Ham, Shem and Japheth immigrate to all parts of the world. From these three sons come all the races of mankind, tongues, customs, social orders, nations and locale in the entire world. Using the land of the Middle East as a starting point the people migrated day after day further and further away – reaching the borders of what we know as Europe and Asia and Africa. Someone had the brave idea of building a boat and sailing out into the blue horizon. It is probable that many of the people of Shem crossed over the Asian continent to the North American continent continuing down to the tip of South America. And then there are those folk that found themselves heading out to sea and finding islands to live on. The first people set foot in England or set off for Australia. The islands of the Caribbean were discovered and populated as well New Zealand and the islands of Indonesia. The earth was divided with people.
It is certain God’s hand was in all of this as He protected travelers to fill the earth. Paul reminded the Athenians that God determined the boundaries of the habitation of man and his dwellings. Columbus did not discover America. The Lord populated it with people long before 1492. Some folk stayed in the cold north (not sure why) and many kept going to find warmer climate (thankfully). There was an evolution of man that took place over the generations and today the world has more than six billion people – all over the place.
What makes this a great story is to put yourself in the shoes of those first people who headed north, south, east or west. It would be generations later before many would reach the further parts of the globe but God guided their hand. These people knew of the true God but for most rejected it for gods of themselves. He worked within the nations to show Him His power. Moses tells us how we got here. That is a great story.
The world is just a scaffolding up which souls climb to the kingdom of Heaven. (Fulton J. Sheen, The Life of All Living, 1929)