10:1–32 The tripartite arrangement of the Table of Nations (vv. 2–5, 6–20, 21–31) reflects the threefold division of humanity. Seventy (representing a large and complete number, cf. Judg. 8:30; 2 Kin. 10:1) nations are given: fourteen from Japheth, thirty from Ham, and twenty-six from Shem. The Japhethites migrated westward, the Hamites, south by southwest, and the Semites, south by southeast.
This selective list is not always racial; “sons of” or “fathered” may refer to political, geographical, social, or linguistic relationships (4:20, 21; 10:31). Some names are personal (e.g., Japheth, Nimrod); others are place-names (e.g., Sidon, Sheba) or names of peoples (e.g., Ludim, Caphtorim). Some belong to more than one family because of early mixtures.