The Offspring of Noah: Japheth
by Alexander Zephyr

Part Three in the Series:
Post-Flood Rehabilitation.           
by Alexander Zephyr


Site Contents by Subject Home
Site Map
Contents in Alphabetical Order
This Site


The Offspring of Noah: Japheth.
           Etymology of the name Japheth has a few meanings; one of them (the most popular), based on Genesis 9:27, translates it as 'may God make Japheth 'wide', 'enlarge' or 'extend' him. This was an indication that his descendants will be more populous than those of Shem and Ham; other sources interpreted the meaning of his name as 'fair', being white skinned in color. Targum of Jonathan renders the translation as 'God shall beautify Japheth.'
          From the seventy linguistically different nations who settled the earth after God's dispersion of the peoples from the tower of Babel, Japheth's descendants contributed to fourteen progenitors. The territory of their settlement is called 'The Northern Zone'. This is north of Asia Minor Turkey], northern Mediterranean and Europe. Japheth is called 'the father of the Indo-European family of nations.'
          Out of the fourteen progenitors of Japheth came these nations:
Greeks, Romans, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Slavs, Russians, Bulgarians, Poles, Slovaks, Croatians, Indians, Iranic, Medes, Persians, Afghans, Kurds, Turkey, Germans, Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxons, and others.   
          There is quite an interesting opinion of the late author Dr. Ernest L. Martin that the descendants of Japheth are not European people, at least not on the massive scale as many thought they were; that Japheth is not 'the father of the Indo-European race'; rather, he thinks, that Japheth is 'the father of the Mongoloid type people of 'Yellow' race.' In modern day, they are the nations of Asiatic Powers such as China, Japan, India, Korea and many others of the regions of the Southeast Asia, Far East and Oceania. Dr. Martin does not reject the possibility that Meshech and Tubal could represent Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He is also not denying the fact that after the dispersal of the human race in the aftermath of the rebellion at the Tower of Babel, the descendants of Japheth went originally to Europe and gave their names to the nations and geographical locations they were dwelled in. That is why the ancient historians were confused with the identifications of those nations and national geography before the Greek's domination of the world and Roman times. Later on, continues Dr. Martin, under the massive push of hordes of Assyrians, Israelites (the Ten Tribes) and other Semites migrants from the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamian areas to Europe, the Japhetic nations had to move farther north and east into Asia. Thus, Gomer, Javan, Togarmah and Kittim left Europe and went into China, where they settled and gave their name to the region. 'Cathay' is the name of China in their own language (after the word 'Kittim'). In the writings of medieval traveler Marco Polo and the Persian astronomer Nazir al-Din-al-Tuzi in 1272 we are told that China was known to outsiders by the name of 'Cathay', 'Kitai', 'Cataya', 'Cathayan', 'Khitayns', which very closely resembled the name of 'Kittim'.
       There is no sense of unity amongst the scholars views as to which modern day country each descendant of Japheth represents.
                                              GOMER (means 'complete'.)
          Gomer is the first son of Japheth, the father of Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah (Genesis 10:2-3). Josephus Flavius said: 'For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, but were then called Gomerites.' (Antiquities of the Jews1:6).
          In Islamic folklore, there is the story that Gomer lived up to a 1000 years, as did as Nimrod, son of Cush.
        Hippolytus of Rome in c. 234 AC said that Gomer is the ancestor of the Cappadocians, neighbors of the Galatians. Anatolian Galatia is in the modern territory of Turkey and was the home of the Gomerites (Celts).
          Theophilus Evans, the Welsh antiquary, in 1716 said that Gomer was one of the ancestors of the Welsh people.
          The Talmudic sources point out that Gomer together with Askenaz gave rise to the people of modern Germany.
          Other sources said that from Gomer came out the Armenians, Cimmerians, Scythians, Welsh, Irish, Huns, Germans, Franks, and Turks.
Well known ancient historians such as Herodotus, Strabo, and Plutarch indicated that Gomer settled in Europe, north of the Baltic Sea and in the Crimea. Anciently, Gomer was known as the Cimmerians (Gimirru, Gimmerai) who dwelt on the Eurasian Steppes, in Southern Russia, Crimea and Ukraine.  The Scythians chased them out into Armenia and Minor Asia (Turkey).
          We read all kind of stories and identifications about Gomer, but nobody (except Dr. Martin and S. Collins, just two as far as we know), have connected this first born son of Japheth, a warlike ally of Gog and Magog, (Ezekiel 38:6), to the most populous and mighty country of the world- China!
         The rest of the six sons of Japheth produced the following peoples and countries:
         MAGOG: Scythians, Slavs, Russians, Bulgarians, Bohemians, Poles, Slovaks, Croatians.

          MADAI: Indians, Iranic, Medes, Persians, Afgans, Kurds.

          JAVAN: Greece, Romans, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese.

          TUBAL: South of the Black Sea, the city of Tbilisi in Georgia (the Caucasus Theory); - Eastern Siberia, city of Tobolsk (Russian Theory).

          MESHECH: Russia, city of Moscow.

          TIRAS: Thracians, Teutons, Germans, Scandinavians, Anglo-Saxons, Jutes.

          These are the seven sons of Japheth and their generations today.
          Gomer begat three sons: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togatmah (Genesis 10:3).
         ASHKENAZ: the name derived from the Assyrian 'Ishkuza' and also was identified with the Scythians 'Saka', and Sarmatians. In Rabbinic literature Ashkenaz is believed to be the ancestor of the Armenian, Germanic, Scandinavian, and Slavic peoples. Ashkenaz and his father Gomer are closely identified by most expositors with the progenitors of German peoples.

          RIPHATH: ('a crusher'). Josephus said: 'Ripath founded the Ripheans, now called Paphlagonians' (Antiquities 1:6:1) which was a province in Asia Minor. Later they migrated to north-west Russia, to the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. The Carpathian Mountains may be named after them. Their descendants today are known as the Finno-Ugric people: Baltic Finns, Estonians, Karelians, Mordvinians, Komi, Udmurts, Hungerians, Ostyaks, and Mansi. There are also the Ural-Finno-Ugric peoples.
          Some researchers have found linguistic connections between the ancient Sumerians and the Ural-Altaic people.

          TOGARMAH: Armenians, Georgians, the people of the South Caucasus (Kakheti, Leketi). Others add Germany and Turkey. The historians Josephus (37-c.100a.c.), Jerome (c.347-420a.c.) and Isidore of Seville (c.560-636a.c.) said that Togarmah was the father of the Phrygians. Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey.
          Saint Hippolytus (c.170-c.236a.c.), Eusebius of Caesarea (c.263-c.339a.c.), and Bishop Theodoret (c.393-c.457a.c.) regarded Togarmah as father of the Armenians.
           The territory of Togarmah in the 'last days' was spoken of by the Prophet Ezekiel 38:6 when he prophesied that 'the house of Togarmah of the north quarters' will join together with Gomer's bands and the invading armies of Gog against Israel.
          These are the sons of Gomer and their generations today.
Javan begot four sons: Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim (Genesis 10:4).
          ELISHAH: some speculate that he is an ancestor of the 'Almanim', possibly a reference to certain Germanic tribes (Alamanni); Others say that he founded the Portuguese people under his actual Biblical name (Lisbon and Lusitania), when he came to Iberia with his uncle Tubal. The Cypriots are also suggested to be the descendants of Elishah because in ancient times the island of Cyprus was known by the name of 'Alashiya'. The most popular idnetification of people descended form Elishah are the Greeks ('Hellas' is a form of word Elishah).
       TARSHISH: Lots of speculations is to be found here regarding efforts to rightfully identify the offspring of Tarshish today. In Scripture, King Solomon traded with Tarshish. They brought him ivory, apes, and peacocks (2 Chronicles 9:21; 1 Kings 10:22).  It should therefore be some kind of 'exotic' country like India where the national bird is the peacock. Josephus identified Tarshish as the city of Tarsus in southern Asia Minor (Antiquities 1:6-1). This historical city was located in south-central Turkey, 20 km. inland from the Mediterranean Sea. Some scholars point out that 'ships of Tarshish' were either of Tartessos [in Spain] or Sardinia. Jewish tradition found in the Targum of Jonathan tied it up with Carthage in North Africa. Other suggestions include the Etruscans, the Phoenician coast, Spain, Lebanon, the Dutch, Sri Lanka, the Philipines, and even Britain.
          KITTIM: 'Invaders'. This is no exception. As elsewhere, there is no unanimous answer. In ancient times the island of Cyprus was called Kition, or Citium (in Latin). That is why Josephus identified Kittim with Cyprus. In the Talmudic literature Kittim was sometimes used to apply to the Assyrians, Macedonians or Romans. Because the name of 'Kittim' may be pronunced like the names of the ancient Hatti (Khatti) people, Kittim has been identified as the same people as those of the Hittite Empire. Dr. Martin connects Kittim with China. In the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran, the Essenes referred to Kittim as being the descendants of 'Asshur'.
          DODANIM: There is a commonly accepted opinion that he was progenitor of the people on the island of Rhodes. The People of Dodanim (who are also called Rodanim) were considered to be either Greeks or kin to the Greeks.

          These are the descendants of Japheth who became the most populous people on the face of the earth as was prophesied in Genesis 9:27, 'God shall ENLARGE Japheth.


See Also:
List of Articles by Alexander Zephyr.

Offering to Brit-Am

Correspond with us
Send Comments or Criticisms
You may not always receive an immediate answer
but anything you say will be considered and appreciated
Send us an

Books and Offering Opportunities

Main Page