This chapter reads like an index... and is just about as valuable as one. While there are many names that seem irrelevant to us (though not to God), there are some very significant ancestors that are mentioned here and that (if we will pay attention to them) will help us keep track of what is going on throughout the rest of the Bible.
In verses 2-5, Japheth's sons appear to become the largest segment of the world's population, at least by geographic measurements. And we must expect to meet the descendants of Magog again in Holy Writ all the way to the end of The Book.
In verses 6-20, Ham was the progenitor of so many infamous Biblical characters that his section reads like a virtual Who's Who among the enemies of God's people. Nimrod established Babel. Ashur built Nineveh. Even the Philistines, the Canaanites and the Amorites arose out of Ham. If it weren't for those nations, the Jews would have had very few enemies in their way. So, even though Ham was cursed, his descendants became a curse to the descendants of Shem.
Finally, in verses 21-31, Shem (most significantly the father of the Hebrews) has his genealogy punctuated by a mysterious statement, "In the days of Peleg the earth was divided." What? Is this a reference to massive tectonic shifts that brought about the modern landscape of continents or was it the dividing of the population at the tower of Babel? I don't know. Either way though, Peleg's life demarcated what was (to Moses) a very significant event.
But, what I get most significantly from reading this chapter is a reminder that Satan is a liar. He tells Christians to skip the genealogies. "They are boring and irrelevant," Lucifer says. It isn’t true though! When you get to hard sections like this one, remember II Timothy 3:16, "ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable!