Biblical Paleoarcheology

Canaan’s Natufian Generation (G2)

Article #33

The second generation after the Flood (G2 on the chart) begins with the first grandchildren after the Flood. Supposing that Noah did not have more children, Shem, Ham, and Japheth would have each had up to fifteen children in their individual “tribe”. The youth would have been industrious, adventuresome, and reached maturity early. It was a harmonious patriarchal society in which the 8 elders trained the 45 youths. In fact, the entire first century was predominately young people who usually, but not always, looked with respect to their ancestors for guidance. When these precocious youths began having children of their own, in the second generation, one settlement, even one region, could contain them all. They began filling the world.

The Second Generation Tribes
Genesis 10 is known as the Table of Nations, because 70 names are given as the leaders of tribes or clans by which the world was divided by languages, nations, and geographic regions (Genesis 10:5, 19, 20, 30-32). Sixteen founders of nations are listed for the first generation: seven for Japheth, four for Ham, and five for Shem. Thirty-six clan leaders were born in the second generation, three in the third, two in the fourth, and thirteen in the fifth. That means that by the second generation, 52 of the 70 clans were scouting out lands to claim as their own. Most likely, the next three generations merely branched off their parents’ huge claims rather than randomly finding new lands. By and large, claims for the first nations were agreed upon by the end of the second generation. This would have allowed for peaceful development across an enormous landscape. As each family matured and moved out on its own, the clan leader would have understood his expected region.

The Clan of Canaan
According to Genesis 10:6, the sons of Noah’s son Ham were Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. Canaan seems to have been a special son, because Noah picked him out among the others to curse, in order to punish Ham’s sin. Moreover, eleven sons are listed for Canaan, who became the nations that Joshua fought against centuries later in the Promised Land. The eleven sons of Canaan were born during the second generation after the Flood. We recognize some of the names, such as Sidon, the Hivites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. Other tribes, such as the Hittites, came to live there later. We should look to archeology and ask if there was ever an early migration from the Fertile Crescent into the Levant, which is the name for the area on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. Can we find very early settlements for the people who would later occupy the land of Canaan? Yes we can. We call them the Natufians.

The Land of Canaan First
Until I studied the settlement distributions, I had no idea how important the Levant (Canaan) was in the beginning of history. Archeologists speak of the Kebaran, Zarzian, and Natufian cultures existing when almost nothing else existed in other areas. The small differences between these naming conventions are based merely on the styles of tools. Archeology helps me appreciate what a fertile country the Promised Land was, even from the beginning. I count around 50 sites on the best maps I can find. These sites, however, are listed as small campsites, sometimes having the remnants of large round teepee-like structures. Archeologists date them from 16,000 BC to 10,000 BC, meaning that we are expected to believe that they slowly evolved in these primitive conditions over six millennia, which is the time Christians count from the creation of Adam and Eve to the present. Do the facts allow for a different, a more Biblical explanation?

A Biblical Model
While Shem and Japheth expanded their herds on the plains near Karacadag, Canaan and perhaps others could have been exploring the Levant, while having his 11 or more boys and probably as many girls. One or two very large, round buildings proceeded the building of several smaller ones. This is what I would expect in the second generation. One or two families with many babies would have required large houses. Soon afterwards, the same people would have rebuilt their sites with more small houses for the kids growing up and needing their separate dwellings. Many sites are found along the Mediterranean coast, about a day’s journey apart. We can easily imagine the same family or families leaving traces of their rapid exploration. They temporarily gave up farming and keeping sheep in order to live off the rich land of Canaan. That’s the only reason they appear to be primitive.

Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon skeletons
Here again is a discovery that leaves me awestruck. Some of the oldest human skeletons are found in Israel. The oldest complete human skeletons were found in Qafzeh Cave in Israel. Even more astonishingly, a team of archeologists recently discovered a jaw bone, part of a skeleton, in Mislaya Cave, near Mount Carmel (1). They date it around 200,000 years old, while they date the oldest human remains from Africa around 300,000 years old (2). So these human remains are closely related to those in Africa and Europe. Neanderthals are also found in Israel. Archeologists say that humans went from Africa to Israel; Neanderthals supposedly went from Africa to Israel to Europe, although none have been found in Africa, and then back to Israel. What should Christians think?

A Biblical Model
All human remains are found in post-Flood strata, which means they are obviously dated incorrectly. At this point, it seems like the early humans, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, and Denisovans are genetically related to the Natufians, but this is a very new area of research. The Natufians were explorers, while the others were super-explorers. Creationists believe that genetic changes may have happened very quickly after the Flood, especially in those who moved away quickly and experienced inbreeding. The map below shows how closely the E-M34 marker found in Israel is linked to the E-M35 marker found in Ethiopia. Perhaps a band of Natufians followed the Nile 2300 miles to a tributary, to the Ilemi Triangle. That would place them just around the corner from the Omo Valley where Richard Leakey found the oldest humans in Africa. This E-M35 genetic group is responsible for populating Africa.

Summary
The second generation after the Flood would have had a small population, but they could have left a trail of many encampments, especially in the Levant/Canaan/Israel area. The popular story of human evolution can be quite intimidating to Christians. The most encouraging news to me is that many facts support the migration of people out of the region where Noah’s Ark landed. Population growth studies allow it to be possible. Explorers and hunters like the Natufians and Ethiopians left first and farmer followed more slowly. With everything I study, my faith in the Bible as historical truth is strengthened.

References

(1) 10 Oldest Human Skeletons in the World | Oldest.orgĀ 

(2) Earliest Human Remains Outside Africa Were Just Discovered in Israel | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

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