Posted by: davidlarkin | January 3, 2015

Sons of Ham

Sons of Ham: I have read and heard over the years that Egyptians are descendants of Ham, a son of Noah in Genesis.

After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem,Ham, and Japheth.

Genesis 5:32 (ESV)

Reading 1 Chronicles yesterday, I noticed for the first time that Egypt was listed as a son of Ham:

The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan.

1 Chronicles 1:8 (ESV) See also Genesis 10:6 (ESV)

and that Egypt had sons named in the Bible:

Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, 12 Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.

1 Chronicles 1:11 (ESV)  See also Genesis 10:13 (ESV)

I wondered why I had never noticed that. I looked at other versions, King James, New International Version (prior to the latest revision), New American Standard. All of them had Mizraim instead of Egypt. But the NIV had a footnote for Mizraim, “that is, Egypt.”

So the new version I am reading, the English Standard Version or ESV avoids the footnote stating that Egypt is the name of the son of Ham, deciding to use “Egypt”, i.e., that “Mizraim” is the Hebrew or Aramaic word for “Egypt.”. In Matthew Henry’s 1710 Commentary of the Bible, he writes of Mizraim, “from whom came the Egyptians . . .” and “for with their descendants the Israel of God had severe struggles to get out of the land of Egypt and into the land of Canaan; and therefore the branches of Mizraim are particularly recorded (v. 11, v. 12)”

There is archaeological evidence from non-Hebrew sources of Mizraim as the source or ancient name of the Egyptians. From Wikipedia:

“Neo-Babylonian texts use the term Mizraim for Egypt. The name was for instance inscribed in the famous Ishtar gate of Babylon. Ugaritic inscriptions refer to Egypt as Msrm, in the Amarna tablets it is called Misri, and Assyrian and Babylonian records called Egypt Musur and Musri. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr (pronounced Masr in Egyptian colloquial Arabic), and Egypt’s official name is Gumhuriyah Misr al-‘Arabiyah (the Arab Republic of Egypt).”

So, this is well-settled.  Egypt is a son of Ham, a son of Noah.  The Egyptians are descendants of Noah, and his son Ham.

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