Table of Contents
Part II: A Study of the Names in Genesis
THE FAMILY OF JAPHETH
THE GREAT majority of those who read this chapter will belong
within the Indo-European family of nations, of whom it can be
shown that the "father" was Japheth. (27) It is our intention, therefore, to spend more time
tracing the descendants of Japheth
27. GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
1 of 21
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,
edited by James Orr, 5 vols., Chicago, Howard-Severance, 1915,
under Table of Nations.
Imperial Bible Dictionary, edited by
P. Fairbairn, 2 vols. London, Blackie and Son, 1866, under individual
Popular and Critical Bible Dictionary,
edited by S. Fallows, 3 vols., Chicago, Howard-Severance, 1912,
under individual names.
Murray's Illustrated Bible Dictionary,
edited by W.C.Piercy,1 vol., London, Murray, 1908, under individual
A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by
J. D. Davis, Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1931, under individual
Bible Cyclopedia, A. R. Fausset, Toronto,
Funk and Wagnalls, no date, under individual names.
Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, John
Kitto, 2 vols., Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black, 1845, under
Works dealing specifically with the Table:
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book
1. Chapter 6.
Rawlinson, George, The Origin of Nations,
Scribner, New York, 1878, 272 pages.
Rouse, Martin L., "The Bible Pedigree
of the Nations of the World," Pt. 1, Transactions of
the Victoria Institute, vol.38, 1906, p. 123-153; and "The
Pedigree of the Nations," Pt. 2, Transactions of the
Victoria Institute, vol.39, 1907, p.83-101.
Sayce, A. H., The Races of the Old Testament,
London, Religious Tract Society, 1893, 180 pages.
Useful information will be found at the appropriate places
in commentaries and editions of the Hebrew text by Bullinger,
Cook, Dillmann, Dod, Driver, Ellicott, Gray and Adams, Greenwood,
Jamieson, Kalisch, Lange, Leupold, Lloyd, Schrader, Skinner,
Snaith, Spurrel, Whitelaw.
Archaeological works such as those by George Barton, J.
P. Free, M. R. Unger, T. G. Pinches, R. D. Wilson, and A. H.
than that of Ham or Shem,
partly because, as a result of labours by others in the past,
we have considerably more information about this particular line,
and partly because what can be said about Hamites and Shemites
is not only less in quantity, but has perhaps less intrinsic
interest for most of us. Nevertheless, there are certain portions
of the Hamitic line which we shall study a little more closely
because they contribute light upon the issue of whether this
Table of Nations is truly comprehensive or merely selective,
encompassing all mankind or only a representative portion.
To begin with,
it is well known that Japheth's name has been preserved in both
branches of the Aryan family, which very early split into two
major divisions and settled in Europe and India. The Greeks,
for example, trace themselves back to Japetos, a name
which without doubt is the same, and significantly, according
to Skinner, has no meaning in Greek. (28) It does have a meaning, however, in Hebrew. In Aristophanes'
The Clouds, (29)
Iapetos is referred to as one of the Titans and the father of
Atlas. He was considered by the Greeks not merely as their own
ancestor but the father of the human race. According to their
tradition, Ouranos and Gaia (i.e., Heaven and Earth) had six
sons and six daughters, but of this family only one - Japetos
by name - had a human progeny. He married Clymene, a daughter
of Okeanos, who bore him Prometheus and three other sons. Prometheus
begat Deukalion who is, in effect, the "Noah" of the
Greeks, and Deukalion begat Hellen who was the reputed father
of the Hellenes or Greeks. If we proceed a little further, we
find that Hellen himself had a grandson named Ion; and
in Homer's poetry the rank and file of the Greeks were known
Meanwhile, the Indian branch of
this Aryan family also traced themselves back to the same man.
In the Indian account of the Flood, (30) "Noah" is known as Satyaurata, who
had three sons, the eldest of whom was named Jyapeti. The other
two were called Sharma and C'harma (Shem and Ham?). To the first
he allotted all the regions north of the Himalayas and to Sharma
he gave the country to the south. But he cursed C'harma, because
when the old monarch was accidentally inebriated with strong
liquor made from fermented rice, C'harma had laughed at him.
28. Skinner, John, A Critical and Exegetical
Commentary on Genesis, Edinburgh, T.& T. Clark, 1930,
29. Aristophanes, The Clouds, Roger's translation, line
30. See J. H. Titcomb, "Ethnic Testimonies to the Pentateuch,"
Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.6, 1872, p.249-253.
further brief observations may be made at this point. The first
is that the Greeks recollected three brothers, for Homer makes
Neptune say: (31)
There are three of us, Brothers,
all sons of Cronos and Rhea: Zeus, Myself, and Hades, the King
of the Dead. Each of us was given domain when the world was divided
into three parts.
The second is
that in primitive Aryan speech the title Djapatischta
(32) means "chief
of the race," a title which looks suspiciously like a corruption
of the original form of the name "Japheth." Apart from
these few notices, we know little else about Japheth except that,
in Hebrew, his name probably means "fair."
But of his sons, we know much more.
They are given in Genesis 10 as Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal,
Meshech and Tiras.
it appears that Gomer was by far the most important of the sons.
To judge from such ancient historians as Herodotus, Strabo, and
Plutarch, Gomer's family settled first to the north of the Black
Sea, giving their name in slightly modified form to that district
known as Cimmeria, later shortened to Crimea, (33) (the Arabs, by a transposition of letters, having
given it the name Krim). These people appear to have multiplied
rapidly towards the west, but a considerable portion of this
ancient family was driven out by the Scythians and took refuge
in Asia Minor during the 7th century B.C. Their subsequent history
is known in some detail from Assyrian records where they appear
as the Kimirraa, by which name they were already known in the
time of Homer.
In concert with the Minni, the
Medes, the people of Sepharad, and other populations whose territory
they had already over-run, they attacked the northern frontier
of the Assyrian Empire. But in 677 B.C. their leader, Teupsa,
was defeated by Esarhaddon and some were driven eastward where
they overthrew the old Kingdom of the Elippi and, according to
some, built Ecbatana. Others went westward into Asia Minor again.
Here they sacked Sinope and Antandros (which they held for a
31. Homer, Iliad, translated by E.
V. Rieu, Penguin, Classics edition, 1953, Book xv, 276.
32. Dods, M., The Book of Genesis, Edinburgh, Clark, no
33. Wright, Charles, The Book of Genesis in Hebrew, London,
Williams and Norgate, 1859, p.35.
hundred years), and finally
invaded Lydia. The Lydian king, the famous Gyges (687‹653
B.C.), (34) sent
to Nineveh for help but was slain in battle before help arrived
and his capital city, Sardis, was captured by the invading army.
Gyges' successor, Ardys, was able to exterminate or drive most
of them out of the country. A recollection of their brief ascendency
in the area seems to be borne out by the fact that the Armenians
referred to Cappadocia as Gamir, (35) although it is not certain whether they intended
by this the name of the land or merely the inhabitants. Eusebius,
in referring to Gomer says, "whence the Cappadocians."
Some of the tribe of Gomer either
remained in the country or subsequently returned, and others
went west as far as France and Spain ‹ and later still into
the British Isles, as we shall see. According to Josephus, (37) the branch which returned
to Asia Minor came to be known as the Galatians. It may be pointed
out that although the form "Galatia" seems far removed
from "Gomer", it is possible, etymologically, to derive
it from the more ancient form of the name. The middle consonant
of the word GoMeR can readily be replaced by a W or a U, so that
G-M-R can become G-W-R, or G-U-R. It is possible that the ancient
site known as Tepe Gawra is a recollection of one of these forms.
A further change may take place in the substitution of L for
the terminal R. This substitution is very common and may be observed,
for example, where castrum in Latin becomes "castle"
in English. We thus have the following series: G-M-R becoming
G-U-R, becoming G-U-L. The final form is to be observed as the
more familiar Gaul, where, it will be remembered, some of the
descendants of Gomer settled. And the connection between the
Gauls, the Galatians, and the Celts are all well established
historically. Indeed, according to Haydn, (38) the Gauls were called Galati or Celtae by the Romans.
Furthermore, Roman historians claim that these people came originally
from Asia Minor and settled throughout Europe -- in Spain (Galicia),
in France (Gaul) and in Britain (Celts).
34. Herodotus (Book 1, chap. 8) gives an interesting
story (with a moral) on how Gyges became King of Lydia.
35. Skinner, John, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on
Genesis, Edinburgh, T.& T. Clark, 1930,, p.196.
36. Eusebius, Chronicon (Armenian version), edited by
I.B.Aucher, vol.1, p.95 (Gimmeri-Cappadocians) and vol.2, p.12
(Gomer, "out of whom the Cappadocians").
37. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book1, Chapter
38. Vincent, B., Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, London,
Ward, Lock, and Bowden, 21st. edition, 1895, p.455.
appears further that many Gomerites formed the restless "barbarians,"
against whom the Assyrians had to defend themselves, later hiring
themselves out as mercenaries who, when they had been paid off,
were settled as farmers in that part of Asia Minor known as Galatia.
In discussing Paul's Epistle to
the Galatians, Dean Farrar observes that: (39)
It must be regarded as certain
that the Galatae were Celts, and not only Celts but Cymric Celts.
. . .
Every trait of their character,
every certain phenomenon of their language, every proved fact
of their history, shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that the
Galatae or Gauls were Celts; and it is most probable that the
names of Galatae and Celtae are etymologically identical.
them with the Chomari, a nation in Bactriana near the Oxus, mentioned
by Ptolemy. (40)
That these people should be referred
to not merely as Celts but Cymric Celts is a beautiful illustration
of how a very ancient name may persist, for the word "Cymric"
(without its patronymic termination, C-M-R) is nothing less than
the more ancient form "Gomer", very slightly modified.
This modified form is still with us in the district of England
known as Cumberland. Once more we have a slight variant rendering
of the original name by the introduction of the consonant B,
so that Gomer-land becomes Cumber-land. To one not familiar
with etymological changes, the introduction of the B may
seem strange, but it is by no means uncommon and is to be observed,
for example, where the Latin form numerous becomes "number"
It would appear that the descendants
of Gomer were a restless bunch, much of the time on the move
and extremely war-like. Whereever they settled, they tended to
form a kind of military aristocracy and when they moved, there
was scarcely any stopping them. In 390 B.C., it was these nomads
who appeared outside Rome and sacked the city. Meanwhile, in
Italy they came to be known as the Umbrians, in which name we
once more may discern the original form "Gomer", though
with the initial guttural presumably replaced by a hard H
and then dropped entirely, while the B was inserted in
exactly the same way as we have observed in the word "Cumberland".
39. Farrar, F. W., Life and Works of St.
Paul, vol.1, London, Cassell, p.466.
40. Kalisch, M. M., A Historical and Critical Commentary of
the Old Testament, Longmans, Brown, Green, London, 1858,
record is not complete yet, however, for Ireland was in ancient
times known as Ivernia, and the Irish Sea as Hibernicus. Ivernia
has lost the initial guttural and the M has become V;
Hibernicus replaces the guttural with an H and the M
with a B. All these changes are commonly observed within
the Indo-European family of languages. For example, the simple
form "Paul" in Spanish may appear as Pablo.
Also, the Septuagint of Genesis 10:28 replaces the Ebal
of Hebrew with Eual. Again, Nicolaus appears in
the Hebrew prayer book (Aboda Zara) as Nicholabus.
Thus Gomer's children and his children's
children went far up into Europe, where, despite their separation
both in time and distance, the name of their ancient forebear
was preserved among them. Indeed, there is even the possibility
that the very name of Germany preserves for us Gomer in slightly
inverted form, although the claim made by certain German historians
that the Teutons represent the pure Gomeric line (a claim which
they held accounted for the warlike nature of the German people)
is highly improbable and is challenged by virtually every ethnologist
of modern times.
Just to complete the record, it
may be further observed that the Welsh people refer to themselves
as Cymri, and in Denmark we find a port originally called Cimbrishavn
which, in our speech, would be Cimbri's Haven. Jutland also was
known as Chersonesus Cimbrica. It would appear that scarcely
any part of Europe was not, at one time or another, settled by
the descendants of Gomer, and some areas -- notably France and
the British Isles ‹ were once inhabited by a homogeneous
people speaking a language akin to modern Kumric.
varied have been identifications of the people descended from
Ashkenaz, son of Gomer. Sayce, (41) for example, was inclined to believe that because
the name was coupled with Ararat and Minni (Jeremiah 51:27),
they should be identified with Asguza of the Assyrian monuments.
Maspero maintained that they were to be equated with the classical
Almost without exception, commentators agree that they are to
be placed to the north of the Fertile Crescent which encompasses
41. Sayce, A. H., The Races of the Old
Testament, London, Religious Tract Society, 1893, 180 pages.
42. Maspero, Sir G.C.C., History of the Ancient Peoples of
the Classic East, vol.3 in The Passing of the Empires,
SPCK (Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge), 1900,
Palestine and Mesopotamia.
They point out that there still exist recollections of the name
Ashkenaz in Lake Ascanius and a neighbouring people who came
to be known as the Askaeni. (43) These people lived in the province of Phrygia and
seem to be mentioned by Homer in the Iliad (Book II, 2,
863 and 13, 793). Peake mentions two lakes and a river in the
district which bear the old name in modified forms and notes
that Ashken still appears today as an Armenian proper name. (44) One of these two lakes
in the eastern part of Bithynia near Nicea is mentioned by Strabo
(see 7, 389) and is now known as Lake Iznik ‹ a broken-down
form of Ashkenaz, in which an inversion has taken place. In Bithynia
on the borders of the Sea of Marmora there was a Lake Ascenia;
in the southwestern Phrygia there is another lake similarly named;
and midway between them lay Troas, in whose royal family we find,
in the time of the Trojan War, a Prince named Ascenius. It is
possible that these also may reflect the name Ashkenaz.
As the descendants of Ashkenaz
moved northward they found descendants of Tiras (Thracians, as
Josephus affirms) already occupying the Plains of Thrace, with
a kind of rearguard body in Bithynia, if we are to judge by allusions
in Herodotus and Strabo. This circumstance probably contributed
to their taking a more northerly route into west central Russia,
instead of following Gomer westward into Europe, arriving in
due time in what is now Germany. The Jewish commentators have
customarily associated Ashkenaz and the Germans, probably with
From there as they multiplied, they moved further north into
Ascania which, along with the islands of Denmark, came to be
known to later Latin writers as the "Islands of Scandia"
‹ Scandinavia. (46)
The introduction of an epenthetic D crept into the form
Ascania in much the same way the Latin tenere appears
in French as tendre.
It is curious how some form of
the name Ashkenaz has been preserved in this area throughout
history. The inhabitants of the ancient state of Dessau have
long claimed descent from Ashkenaz, and one of their rulers in
the 12th century, who for a while held the Saxon estates of Henry
the Lion (founder of the
43. Sayce, A. H., under Askenaz in Murray's
Illustrated Bible Dictionary, London, Murray, 1908.
44. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner,
45. Hertz, J. H., The Pentateuch and Haftorahs: Genesis, Oxford,
Oxford University Press, 1929, p.88, note 3.
46. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner,
House of Brunswick),
added to his baptismal name Bernard that of Ascenius, declaring
that his ancestors had come from Lake Ascenius in Bithynia.
Meanwhile, far away on the northern
borders of Media, a rearguard of the same family remained behind.
These people were allies of their neighbours, the Medes, and
caused much trouble to Esarhaddon of Assyria. In classical times
they dwelt near Rhagae, which according to Josephus, (47) was a city of some size,
near the centre of the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. At
that point, a chain of mountains begins, and runs eastward along
the shore and beyond it, forming a natural boundary to the territory
of the Bactrians and the Saki. This chain of mountains was referred
to by Ammianus Mercellinus (the Emperor Julian's librarian and
historian who was writing about A.D. 350), as the Ascanimian
These wild tribes, referred to by Strabo as the Saki, (49) gained possession of Bactriana
on the one side of the Caspian and occupied the best districts
of Armenia on the other side. These occupied territories "took
from them the name of Sakasene," so Strabo tells us.
Thus we know about a range of mountains
called in classic times the Ascanimians, around which dwelt descendants
of Ashkenaz. At the outset of the Christian era, a little to
the north of them, cut out of the neighbouring kingdom of Armenia
and just south of the Caucasus Mountains, there was a country
called Sakasene. It is almost certain that these people, the
Sakasenoi, were also descendants of Ashkenaz. And it appears
that some time after the Christian era began, a wave of this
family of Ashkenaz, calling themselves Sakasenoi, or more briefly
Sachsen, marched northward through the Caspian Gates into European
Scythia and thence onward with the tide of their German kinsmen,
the Goths, into northern Europe where the country they occupied
has borne the simple title "Sachsen".
When Tacitus, writing about A.D.
100, lists the peoples of Germany in his own day (although he
included in his account Denmark and Sweden where he says dwelt
the Cymbri, and also included the Angli), he made no mention
whatever of the Sachsens or as we more familiarly know them,
Saxons. These people appear first in history when Caransius was
47. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews,
Book1, Chapter 6, section 1.
48. On this see M. L. Rouse, "Bible Pedigree of the Nations
of the World," Transactions of the Victoria Institute,
vol.38, 1906, p.149.
49. Strabo, I:i:10, and I:iii:21 and XI:viii:4.
about A.D. 280, to guard
the eastern British coasts against pirates, at which time he
was given the title "Count of the Saxon Shore." (50)
We may believe, then, that Japheth's
grandson, Ashkenaz, gave rise to a large component of the earliest
settlers in Germany and Scandinavia, and left en route many memorials
of the ancestral name, besides providing for us a tribe of people
who played an exciting part in English history.
to have been discovered that could be related to the name of
this son of Gomer. Several proposals have been made for some
districts in Asia Minor. Dr. J. Pye Smith (51) suggests, for example, Rifou east of the Black Sea
and the Riphaean Mountains mentioned in ancient geographies by
Strabo, Virgil, Pliny, and others. C. R. Conder (52) mentions a people living
eastward of the Black Sea named the Rhibii. He also suggests
the Riphaeans were later known as Raphlagonians, whom Josephus
identifies as the descendants of Riphath. In the Popular and
Critical Biblical Encyclopedia, the first map at the end
of Vol. 3 shows the ancient world and the supposed position of
the descendants of Noah. There is no authority behind this map
other than certain suppositions based upon an intelligent examination
of the biblical evidence, but it may be noted that the centre
of Europe is occupied by Riphath. The conjunction of the word
"Europe" on the map with the name Riphath prompted
the question whether there could have been some connection between
the two. The name Europe is generally derived from the legend
of Europa, but since dictionaries of classical mythology acknowledge
that the etymology of Europus is uncertain, the possibility still
remains that, if we could reach far enough back into history,
we would find that the name was originally Riphath. Another suggestion
has also been made, that the name reappears in the name "Carpathians".
There are also the Carpates, called Alpes Bastarnicae, which
separate Dacia from Sarmatia.
The people named
after Togarmah, another son of Gomer,
50. On this whole aspect of the problem, see
also Martin L. Rouse,"Bible Pedigree of the Nations of the
World," Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol.38,
51. Smith, J. Pye, "Dispersion of Nations," Popular
and Critical Bible Commentary, vol.2, edited by S. Fallows,
Chicago, Howard-Severance, 1912, p.1213.
52. Conder, C. R., "Riphath," Murrays' Illustrated
Bible Dictionary, London, Murray, 1908, p.749.
are mentioned twice
in Ezekiel. We read about them first at the fairs in Tyre, trading
in horses and mules (Ezekiel 27:14), and later in a campaign
with Gomer against Palestine (Ezekiel 38:6). Neither passage
does much towards fixing their homeland, but both agree with
the hypothesis that the people intended are the ancient inhabitants
of Armenia. And this has some support from national tradition
and etymological theory. The Armeneian traditions assign as their
own ancestor a man named Hiak who, they claim, was the "son
of Targom, a grandson of Noah." (53)
By an inversion of letters, the
Armenians came to be referred to as the House of Targom, and
Jewish writers often refer to the Turks as Togarmah. It should
be noted also that the Black Sea, which is northwest of Armenia,
was also sometimes referred to as Togarmah. Strabo (54) seems to have taken it
for granted that the Armenians were intended here, and Herodotus
(55) mentions their
connection with horse breeding. Josephus (56) says that Togarmah is the father of the people known
as Thrugrammeans, whom the Greeks identified with the Phrygians.
Professor F.W. Schultz (57) points out that, according to the Jewish Targums,
Togarmah was the father of Germany. And there are some who believe
that the word Germania itself is formed out of the older name
Togarmah, with the first syllable lost in the process. If this
is so, then there can be no connection between "Gomer"
and "Germany," as proposed previously.
is known about the identity of the people descended from Magog.
It is not even clear whether the name is the original form or
compounded of two elements, ma and Gog. The prefix
ma was often added in antiquity to a personal name, meaning
"the place of". Magog would then mean "the place
of Gog", i.e., the territory of Gog.
According to Chamberlain, (58) the prefix ma means
"earth" in Magyar and Estonia and, in the form maa,
it bears the same significance in Finnic. In Cuneiform, the sign
for ma could be understood as an enclosure or an area
of ploughed ground, two
53. Armenian tradition: see Historia Armenae,
Moses Chorenensis, London, 1736, 1.4, section 9-11.
54. Strabo, XI:xvii:9.
55. Herodotus, VII. 40.
56. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chap.
6, section I.
57. Schultz, F.W., "Gomer," Religious Encyclopedia,
vol.2, edited by Philip Schaff, New York, Funk and Wagnalls,
58. Chamberlain, A. G., "The Eskimo Race and Language,"
Canadian Institute, vol.6, 3rd series, 1887-1888, p.326.
different diagrams being
used at different times. A number of ancient names appear with
and without the prefix ma. According to Lloyd, (59) the two forms Chin and
Machin both occur for China. Conder (60) interpreted the form Magan (signifying the
region of Sinai) as a compound meaning "the place of strength",
"walled land", or some such descriptive term.
The ordinary word in Assyrian and
Babylonian for "land" or "country" is matu,
often abbreviated to mat. And "the country of 'Gutu',"
according to Sayce, (61)
appears in Assyrian inscriptions as Mat Gugi. He considered,
therefore, that Gog is the Gutu of the Assyrian inscriptions
and the Gyges of the Greeks (which I think is very doubtful,
being far too late), the compound form "Magog" meaning
the "land of Gog," i.e., Mat Gugi.
There is some indication that Marco
Polo (62) understood
the word "Mungul" to be a broken-down form of the word
"Magog", since he came across an association of names
"Ung" and "Mungul", which were considered
the counterparts of Gog and Magog. He appears to be referring
to a time prior to the migration of the Tartars. It is just conceivable
that the word "Mongol" was originally attached to a
people descended from Gog and Indo-European stock. Curiously,
small pockets of people have been reported still retaining an
Indo-European form of language in areas now completely dominated
by Mongols. (63)
Bochart (64) derived the word "Caucasus" from a compound
form of "Gog" and "Chasan", meaning "the
stronghold of Gog". According to Josephus, the descendants
of Gog were later known as the Scythians, whom he says were otherwise
known as Magogites. These people subsequently formed the greater
part of Russian stock. Mention is made of Gog in Ezekiel (38:2)
as "the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal." It may
be observed that rosh, which
in this passage is translated "chief prince", signified
the inhabitants of Scythia. From it the Russians
59. Lloyd, J., An Analysis of the First
Eleven Chapters of the Book of Genesis, London, Samuel
Bagster & Sons, 1869, p.114.
60. Condor, C. R., commenting on a paper by T. G. Pinches, "Notes
on Some Recent Discoveries in Assyriology," Transactions
of the Victoria Institute, vol.26, 1897, p.180.
61. Sayce, A. H. The Races of the Old Testament, London,
Religious Tract Society, 1893, p.45.
62. Marco Polo, Travels of Marco Polo, New York, Library
Publications, no date, p.87.
63. I regret that I have mislaid the source of this observation.
It was given in a paper in the Transactions of the Victoria
64. Bochart, "Gog and Magog" Chambers Encyclopedia,
London, Chambers, 1868, vol.4, p.813.
derive their name. Russia
was known as Muskovi until the time of Ivan the Terrible, a name
undoubtedly connected with Meshech. The Russian Empire was created
by the Muskovite princes who were the first Grand Dukes of Moscow,
but it was Ivan (1533‹1584) who really consolidated and extended
that great Empire until it reached the White Sea on the north
and the Caspian Sea in the south and was thenceforth called Russia.
As stated at the outset, there
is very little certainty about any of this but such fragments
as we do have point in the same general direction, i.e., the
area commonly referred to today as Russia has a population that
is probably to be traced back largely to Gog.
Madai and Javan
The part that
these play in early history is very well defined and can be stated
without the complications that are attached to most of the previous
It is reasonably clear that the
Madai appear subsequently as the Medes and Javan gave rise to
the Ionians. In his book, Races of the Old Testament,
Sayce says that the Medes claimed a relationship with the Aryans
of north India, and on the Persian monuments (for example, the
Behistun inscriptions) they are referred to as the "Mada"
‹ from which the Greek form, Medes, comes. (65) There is no doubt that Persia was their general area
of initial settlement. In Assyrian inscriptions they are mentioned
as the Ma-da-ai. (66)
Now it has already been observed
that before there arose a complete separation of the various
nationalities -- Medes, Persians, Greeks, Celts, etc. ‹ the
Japhethites were first divided into two major bodies. One of
these comprised the ancestors of the Indians and Persians, whereas
the second was the aggregate of those tribes which afterwards
composed the nations of Europe. Thus the word "Indo-European"
well sums up our ethnological origins.
That the separation of these two
groups had probably preceded the smaller division into nationalities
is suggested by the early rise of names distinguishing these
two great divisions. The ancestors of the Indo-Persians claimed
for themselves alone
65. Behistun Inscriptions: Records of the
Past, London, Bagster, 1873, vol.1, p.111, para.1, section
6. In the original, Mada appears in the English translations
66. Spurrell, G. J., Notes on the Book of Genesis, Oxford,
Clarendon Press, 1896, p.97.
the old title, "Aryas",
and gave to the other body the name, "Yavanas", (67) a word which may possibly
be related to our word "Young", although, to my mind,
it is clearly a recollection of the name Javan. Thus Javan and
Madai, in a manner of speaking, may stand collectively for the
two branches of the Indo-European family.
Orientals seem to have used the
term Yavan for the Greek race as a whole. The Assyrians called
the Greeks of Cyprus the "Yavnan". The Persians refer
to the Greeks of Asia Minor and the Aegean Islands as the "Yuna".
The terms "Greek" and "Hellene", "Achaean",
and "Dorian" seem to have been unknown in Asia, according
to Rawlinson. (68)
In the days when Egyptian monarchs
of the IVth Dynasty were erecting their pyramids, the Mediterranean
was already known as the "Great Circle of the Uinivu",
(69) which is equated
by some with Javan.
Larned suggests that the Italian
peninsula was occupied by peoples of a stock who had travelled
into Greece, later crossing the Apennines and spreading southward
along the western coast. (70) It is evident that in the name "Javan"
we have a very early reference to the basic stock out of which
Greece, and perhaps part of Italy, was first settled, for the
Greeks in later periods used other patronymics to refer to themselves.
And it would seem, on the other hand, that in the Medes we have
an equally early reference to those who settled India, since
in Genesis 10 there is no mention, for example, of the Persians
who in later records were nearly always associated with the Medes.
Indeed, as with the Greeks, whose more ancient name, Ionians,
has long since disappeared, so in modern times the word "Persia"
has remained but the name "Madai" has disappeared.
What we have is a general term for those who became Indians,
Medes, and Persians.
The number of
possible identifications of the descendants of this son of Javan
is considerable. Most of them are probably correct. For example,
it is quite generally agreed that the
67. Keary, C.F., Outlines of Primitive
Belief Among the Indo-European Races, New York, Scribner's
Sons, 1882, p.163ff.
68. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner,
69. Sayce, A. H., The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of
the Monuments, London, S.P.C.K., (Society for the Propagation
of Christian Knowledge), 1895, p.20.
70. Larned, J.N., A New Larned History, Springfield, Massachusetts,
Nichols, 1923, vol.6, p.4636.
more familiar "Hellas"
is a corrupted form of an original "Elishah" and, according
to Rawlinson, (71)
from about the time of the Persian War, Hellas came to be a name
commonly applied to the Greeks as a whole.
Another form of this ancient name
is believed, by many authorities, to be "Aioleis" ( GREEK ),
i.e., the Aeolians. This view was held also by Josephus. (72) The Jerusalem Talmud,
the Midrash, and the Targums read for Elishah the form "Elis"
or "Eolis", although scholars such as Skinner (73) and Driver (74) consider this quite groundless.
The Tell el Amarna tablets include several people from Alasia.
The Eilesion of the Iliad (II, I, 617) is doubtless
a further reference. It is almost certain that the name reappears
in the Ugarit tablets, (75) in which there is a Canaanite reference to the Cyprians
under the title, "Alasiyans". In Ezekiel 27:7, it is
said that purple stuffs were brought to Tyre from the "Isles"
(or coasts) of Elishah. The mussel from which the purple dye
was obtained in antiquity abounded on the coast of the Peloponnese,
confirming the general area settled by this grandson of Japheth.
It is confusing to find a people
broadly referred to as the Greeks being traced back and, without
distinction, referred to both as the people of Hellas and as
Ionians. This is analogous, however, to referring to Englishmen
as descendants of the Normans, Picts, Scots, or Celts, etc. The
fact is that in both cases a few families have given rise to
large clans or tribes, which, in the ebb and flow of migration
and conquest, became united in various mixtures, so that a historian
with one preference may emphasize one originating stock while
another historian emphasizes a different one. And both are correct.
Not too much
can be stated with certainty about the identity of Tarshish,
another son of Javan. There are statements elsewhere in Scripture
which confuse the issue somewhat. For example, it was the opinion
of Sayce (as it has been of a number
71. Rawlinson, G., op. cit., ref.42, p.184.
72. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chap.
6, section 1.
73. Skinner., J., op. cit., ref.28, p.198.
74. Driver , S. R., op. cit., ref.4, p.116.
75. Harris, Zellig S., "Ras Sharma: Canaanite Civilization
and Language," Annual Report Smithsonian Institute,
1937, p.485. See also R. J. Forbes, Metallurgy in Antiquity,
Leiden, Brill, 1950, p.346.
of other scholars) that
Tartessos in Spain was probably one of the initial settlements
of Tarshish. However, the Old Testament speaks of ivory, apes,
and peacocks being brought by the ships of Tarshish (2 Chronicles
9:21). Such creatures would not be expected from Spain. But Sayce
(76) argues that
the implication is merely that merchants from Tartessos, or Tarshish,
traded in these items, which they perhaps picked up somewhere
in Africa and sold elsewhere in the Middle East. The Septuagint
renders Tarshish in Isaiah 23:1 as Karkedonos (karchedonos),
which was the Greek form of the name Carthage in North Africa.
While the Phoenicians seem to have
had many trade dealings with Tartessos, the original port itself
could not, according to Genesis 10 (where it is clear that Tarshish
is in the line of Japheth), have been founded by them, for in
the Old Testament the Phoenicians and Canaanites are described
as descending from Ham. The Carthaginians, as Phoenician colonists,
maintained even in the days of Augustine that they were Canaanites.
(77) On the other
hand, many colonies were also established by the Phoenicians
in Spain. Here is one of the difficulties, for certain biblical
references to Tarshish (2 Chronicles 9:21 and 20:36) have led
some scholars (78)
to suppose that there must have been another Tarshish in the
Indian Ocean which could be reached via the Red Sea. Although
this idea is now generally rejected, it underscores the fact
that Tartessos in Spain is not an altogether satisfactory identification.
That is to say, the Spanish settlement does not on the face of
it seem to have been a Japhetic one, nor do the products which
are said to have come from it seem proper to it.
However, Kalisch (79) believed that there was sufficient evidence to justify
identifying Tarshish as the original settler of the whole Spanish
peninsula "so far as it was known to the Hebrews, just as
Javan is used to designate all the Greeks." The Phoenicians
arrived later. Cook (80)
believed that a small tribe of Javanites settled at the mouth
of the Quadalquiver river in Spain,
76. Sayce, A. H., The Races of the Old
Testament, London, Religious Tract Society, 1893,, p.47.
77. Carthaginian Canaanites: See article, "Phoenicia and
the Phoenicians," Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia,
Chicago, Howard-Severance, vol.2, 1912, p.1342, end of section
78. So Jerome in his work On Jeremiah X, 9; and since then by
Bochart and many others.
79. Kalisch, M. M., A Historical and Critical Commentary on
the Old Testament, Longmans, Brown, Green, London, 1858,
80. Cook, F. C., The Holy Bible with Explanations and Critical
Commentary, London, Murray, vol.1,1871, p.85.
thus initiating the
colony of Tarshish. Bochart (81) says that both Cadiz and Carteia, which were in the
Bay of Gibraltar, were in ancient times called Tartessos; also
he thinks that Cadiz was built by Tarshish, grandson of Japheth,
immediately after the dispersion, and Carteia, long afterwards
by the Phoenicians. He refers to the fact that, according to
when the Phoenicians first arrived, Tartessos was already in
existence and the king of that country was named Arganthonius.
In summary, then, it is possible
that Tarshish, grandson of Japheth, settled in Spain and established
a capital city and a kingdom which later became a trading point
much used by the Phoenicians, who stopped there on their way
to the eastern Mediterranean ports, bringing wares picked up
on the way. These wares may have come partly from Spain and partly
from Africa. It is not at all impossible that some may even have
come from India via the Horn of Africa, for there is plenty of
evidence that Phoenicians were superb navigators.
There can be
little doubt that by Kittim, or Chittim as it sometimes is spelled,
the Hebrews understood the people dwelling in Cyprus. Josephus
(83) observed that
the island was called by the Greeks Kition and its inhabitants
were known as Kitieis, or Kittiaeans. In course of time the name
came to have a larger meaning, being extended from Cyprus to
the other islands of the Aegean, and from them to the mainland
of Greece and even to Italy. For example, in 1 Maccabees 1:1,
Alexander the Great is described as coming from the land of Kittim,
and in 1Maccabees 8:5, Perseus is referred to as the King of
Kittim. In 1 Maccabees 11:30, both the Vulgate and the Septuagint
translate Chittim as Romanos. Although I have not seen elsewhere
any reference to the possibility, it appears to me that the land
of Chittim might be found in the form Ma-Chettim. Ma,
as we have already observed, is a prefix for "place".
If so, we may have the original form of the more familiar "Macedon",
the land of Alexander the Great's birth.
There is not much
substance in these remarks, but, in a general sense, they confirm
the impression given throughout this
81. Bochart: quoted by J. Lloyd, Analysis
of the First Eleven Chapters of Genesis, London, Bagster,
1869, p.117, note.
82. Herodotus, Book 1, chap. 163.
83. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, chap.
6, section, 1.
portion of Genesis 10
that the Japhethites were very much at home along the shores
of the Mediterranean and throughout its islands, as well as up
into and across Europe.
Not very much
can be written about this, except that it seems to appear elsewhere
in Scripture with the initial D replaced by an R
(cf. 1 Chronicles 1:7). If Rodanim is the preferred form, it
would appear that the Island of Rhodes formed one link in a series
of settlements by the descendants of Javan.
The River Rhodonus, i.e., the Rhone,
may have received its name from a branch of this family which
settled at its mouth. (84) In Epirus, there is to be found the city of Dodona
and the county of Doris. Bochart suggested that the first settlement
of the Dodanim was in southwest Asia Minor in that part of the
country called by the Greeks Doris. It is possible also that
a more corrupted form of the name is the Dardan, found in the
inscriptions of Rameses II, signifying a people of Asia Minor
not far from the Lycians, and just possibly providing us with
the origin of the term, "Dardanelles". In the present
state of our knowledge of antiquity, little more can be said
about the descendants of Dodanim.
Meshech and Tubal
These two names
occur rather frequently as a couplet (see, for example, Ezekiel
32:26, 38:2,3). Meshech is found on the Assyrians monuments in
the form of "Muskaa", probably pronounced Muskai. Classical
writers were in the habit of calling them the Moskhi, and, in
the time of Ezekiel, the position of these people is probably
that described by Herdotus (III, 94), i.e., in Armenia, where
a mountain chain connecting the Caucasus and Anti-Taraus was
named after them, the Moschici Montes. Here, according to Strabo
(XI, 497-499), was a district named Moschice.
In the Assyrian inscriptions, the
word Tubal occurs as Tubla, whereas it seems to have been known
to classical geographers as Tibareni. According to Rawlinson,
(85) these two
-- the Mushki and the Tibareni -- dwelt in close proximity to
each other on the northern coast of Asia Minor and were, at one
time, among the most powerful people of that area. The Moschian
capital was known to Josephus and was called by the Romans
84. Greenwood, George, The Book of Genesis:
An Authentic Record, London, Church Printing Co., vol.2,
85. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner,
Caesarea Mazaca. Josephus
(86) also says
that the Iberians of Italy were descendants of Tubal. As he put
it, "Thobel founded the Thobelites, now called Iberis."
It also is possible that in the River Tiber we have a recollection
of this same ancestor. According to Forbes, (87) the Moschi and Tibareni are included in the 19th
satrapy of Darius. They were redoubtable enemies of the Assyrians
in the early half of the first millennium B.C.; Tiglath Shalmaneser
II mentions tribute paid to him by "twenty-four kings of
the land of Tubal." (88)
By classical times, these people
had moved northwards, (89) although Xenophon (90) and his Greek troops still found remnants of them
south of the Black Sea. Much later in history we meet the word
Meshech in the form Muskovy. It is possible that the two famous
cities of Moscow and Tobolsk still preserve the elements of the
names Meshech and Tubal.
Josephus and the Targum, the descendants of Tiras became the
Thracians. Smith (91)
says that one offshoot of the Thracians were the Getae or Goths.
King Darius conquered them in 515 B.C. By the time of Alexander
the Great (c. 330 B.C.), they had settled the mouth of the Danube.
(92) They maintained
independence but in the early part of the first century B.C.,
united with the Dacians, thereafter harassing the Roman legions
until they were conquered by Trajan in A.D. 106 and incorporated
into the Roman Empire.
One of the problems here is that
we have no further occurrence in Scripture of Tiras. There is
this one brief mention of his name and then, unlike Gomer, Meshech,
or Tubal, he disappears entirely. If the Thracians were really
descendants and if they were, as Rawlinson says, (93) widely scattered with
many offshoots such as the Bithynians and Phrygians, one might
have expected that Scripture would make some reference to Tiras
86. Josephus, F., Antiquities of the Jews,
Book 1, chap. 6, section 1.
87. Forbes, R. J., Metallurgy in Antiquity, Leiden, NL,
Brill, 1950, p.280.
88. Schrader, E., The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament,
London, Williams and Norgate, 1885, p.64.
89. Sayce, A. H., The Races of the Old Testament, London,
Religious Tract Society, 1893, p.48.
90. Xenophon, The Anabasis, translated by J. S. Watson,
New York, Harper, 1861, Book V, chap.5, section 1, p.159.
91. Smith, R. Payne, Commentary on Genesis, edited by
Ellicott, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, no date, p.149.
92. "Getae": Everyman's Encyclopedia, London,
Dent, vol.6, p,1913.
93. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations, New York, Scribner,
The basic centres of civilization
which underlie all others.
Each of the cultural centres of the early world were Hamitic
subsequently. On the
other hand, it may be said that a general belief exists among
ethnologists, (which is, nevertheless, not susceptible of proof),
that the Thracians ultimately gave origin to the Teutons. Thus
Rawlinson observes: (94)
The Thracian tribe of the Getae
seems to have grown into the great nation of the Goths, while
the Dacia (or Dacini) seem to have been the ancestors of the
Danes. The few Thracian words that have come down to us are decidedly
teutonic There is also a resemblance between the Thracian customs,
as described by Herodotus (V, 4-8) and those which Tacitus assigns
to the Germans.
Once again we
have to admit that these are slender lines of evidence; yet,
in many respects, they have a general concordance with all else
that we know of the descendants of Japheth as a whole. There
is, therefore, every likelihood that the descendants of Tiras
made as large a contribution to the population and civilization
of Europe as the rest of his immediate family.
Out of this intricate network of
possibilities and probabilities, there emerges a reasonably clear
picture in which a single family beginning with Japheth multiplied
in the course of time and peopled the northern shore of the Mediterranean,
the whole of Europe, the British Isles and Scandinavia, and the
larger part of Russia. The same family settled India, displacing
a prior settlement of Hamites who had established themselves
in the Indus Valley. Isolated groups of this same people seem
to have wandered further afield towards the East, contributing
to small pockets of Japhethites which, in course of time, were
almost, if not wholly, swallowed up by the Hamites. It is possible
that some of them contributed characteristics found in the people
of Polynesia, and it is conceivable that in the Ainu of northern
Japan there is a remnant of Japhethites.
Noah had said that God would enlarge
Japheth (Genesis 9:27). It seems that this enlargement began
very early in Japheth's history, but it has been a continuing
process and occurring in every part of the world, with the exception
of the Far East. The children of Japheth have tended to spread
and multiply at the expense of other racial stocks. As we shall
see in the last chapter, this enlargement did not mean that Japhethites
were the first to migrate far and wide, for wherever they have
spread, whether in prehistoric or historic times, they have been
preceded by even earlier settlers whose racial origin was not
Indo-European. This pattern of settlement of the habitable areas
of the world
94. Rawlinson, G., The Origin of Nations,
New York, Scribner, 1878, p.178.
has had a profound significance
in the development of civilization, a significance which is considered
in some detail in another Doorway Paper. (95)
In the meantime, it has been established
by many lines of evidence that the actual names provided in Genesis
10:1-5 were indeed those of real people, whose families carried
with them recognizably clear recollections (though often in corrupted
form), of their respective forebears, so that they have survived
to the present day, still bearing the kind of relationships that
are implied in this ancient Table of Nations. And even the patriarchal
name is often unmistakably preserved!
95. Custance, A.C., "A Christian World View", Part
V in Noah's Three Sons, vol.1 in The Doorway Papers Series.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
Previous Chapter Next