This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth:
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.
3 The sons of Gomer:
Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.
4 The sons of Javan:
Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. 5 (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)
6 The sons of Ham:
Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.
7 The sons of Cush:
Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka.
The sons of Raamah:
Sheba and Dedan.
8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar.]11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city.
13 Egypt was the father of
the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.
15 Canaan was the father of
Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites,Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.
Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.
22 The sons of Shem:
Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
23 The sons of Aram:
Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek.
24 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah,
and Shelah the father of Eber.
25 Two sons were born to Eber:
One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
26 Joktan was the father of
Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.
30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country.
31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.
Look at all these people that spread out from Noah and his sons. The whole of the Mediterranean world is listed here: Egyptians; Philistines; the “bad” lands of Sodom and Gomorrah and the “good” lands of Ophir; maritime peoples that went even further abroad than any of their cousins. I used to think of these genealogies as just names to be skimmed over, of no interest except to a handful of dusty scholars. But if you think about it, this lineage is truly awe-inspiring. God blessed Noah, and his descendants filled the land.
I’m reading a book right now, Original Blessing by Matthew Fox, and in it he warns of the dangers of a religion that is too introspective. If we focus upon ourselves too much, even if it is in self-reflection and self-study, we lose touch with the whole of the wonderful cosmos that our God has made. We are too busy contemplating our own soul, missing it’s connection to our world and our fellow man. We become blind to beauty and injustices alike. We can see the importance of connection and bigger pictures here, in this chapter: Noah is pivotal to the story, but he’s just the beginning. His three sons were fruitful and multiplied, and then those sons multiplied, and the ripple effect went on and on. I think we need to remember that about ourselves, too. Of course we’re going to be the most important character in our own stories, but we need to also remember that the story continues without us. We don’t just end, but send our own ripple effects out past our limited reach. It’s important to remember the fuller picture.
I am still angry about the Nathan Phillips/Covington Catholic Schoolboys incident as I write this. I keep hearing people say “wait for the fuller picture,” or “there are two sides to every story,” or “Russia is using our outrage to erode our democracy.” I am in a very privileged position of knowing some of the people involved. Chris has met Mr. Phillips; I first saw the raw video of this confrontation on my newsfeed taken by a person I know who was actually there. So I believe them when they say it was ugly. What I think people have lost sight of is the basic storyline: A teenager disrespected an elder. Let’s make it even more basic than that: A human being disrespected another human being. And I won’t be gas-lighted into believing otherwise.
When people say “wait for the fuller picture,” etc, etc, I think they have already lost sight of the fuller picture. Put yourself in front of that smirking child and Lord of the Flies crowd backing him up. Put your wife there, your daughter. Now how do you feel about it? I certainly wouldn’t want to be in Mr. Phillip’s position there. I am not condoning violence upon this boy or his peers, no sane person is. What I, and others like me, want, is for them to realize they were in the wrong, apologize, and more than anything, grow from it. I want this child to grow from it. We all make mistakes, but if no lesson is learned, we – both individually and as a larger society – gain nothing.
What ripple effects can you start today? We may not be destined to fill the Earth with our grandchildren, but we can fill the Earth with our good works. Make an effort to reach out beyond yourself today. Drop some canned goods off at your local food bank. Ask your child’s teacher if there is anything they are lacking this second semester – can you buy it for them? Call your representative on behalf of furloughed federal employees and contractors (thank you!). Don’t stand by silently if something makes you uncomfortable, stand up for those being wronged. Creating larger waves of good is the only way we are going to smooth over the ripple effects of negative behavior. So today I challenge you to look beyond yourself. What will be your legacy?