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When listing the descendants of Noah in Gen 10,1 and on the Torah uses different naming methods:

  1. Names in the singular: "וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת בְּנֵי־נֹחַ שֵׁם חָם וָיָפֶת וַיִּוָּלְדוּ לָהֶם בָּנִים אַחַר הַמַּבּוּל׃"

  2. Names in plural: "וּמִצְרַיִם יָלַד אֶת־לוּדִים וְאֶת־עֲנָמִים וְאֶת־לְהָבִים וְאֶת־נַפְתֻּחִים"

  3. Adjective names (?): "וְאֶת־הַיְבוּסִי וְאֶת־הָאֱמֹרִי וְאֵת הַגִּרְגָּשִׁי׃"

Why different methods are used in naming the 70 nations?

What was special about every method so it was used with specific nations?

  • I don’t understand the question. Are you assuming that their names were in the singular and asking why the passuk refers to them differently, or are you assuming that those are their names and asking why they aren’t all in the singular? – DonielF Oct 22 '18 at 12:29
  • @DonielF Not necessarily all in the singular, but one consistent method through all 70 nations. – Al Berko Oct 22 '18 at 12:34
  • I think you neglect the point that these were individual people’s names, which were adopted by the nations they founded. Those were what their parents named them. Why some were named this way and some were named that way I suspect can only be answered on a case by case basis. – DonielF Oct 22 '18 at 12:36
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    1. I don't neglect I just see inconsistencies. 2. See Ebn Ezer on Ludim that it IS plural, not his name etc. You are right that we don't see those names in different uses so theoretically you can say those were their real names, but it doesn't seem so in Pshat. – Al Berko Oct 22 '18 at 12:41
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    If you want to go like the Ibn Ezra I recommend that you include that in your question. To me, that’s a chiddush: each list of nations is introduced as “the sons of Yefes,” etc., and predicated with statements like “from these did the nations spread out across the land,” implying people, not nations (it would have said “they” spread out, not “from these”); further, back in 9:18, we’re already introduced to כנען as a person, not a nation, even before he fathers children in 10:15ff. – DonielF Oct 22 '18 at 12:49

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