From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This T and O map
which abstracts that society's known world to a cross inscribed
within an orb, remakes geography in the service of Christian iconography
identifies the three known continents as populated by descendents
of Shem (Sem), Ham (Cham) and Japheth (Iafeth)
The Table of Nations or Sons of
Noah is an extensive list of descendants of Noah which appears in Genesis 10 of the Hebrew Bible,
representing an ethnology from an Iron Age Levantine perspective.
The significance of Noah in this context is that, according to the
Hebrew Bible (Genesis 6), the population of the Earth was
completely destroyed during the Flood because of the wickedness of the
Earth's inhabitants. And Noah and his family were the sole
survivors to continue the human race; consequently all humans on
Earth are descendant from him, therefore all mankind is thereby
Historicity and coverage
The world according to the Mosaic account (1854 map)
interpretation of Genesis 10 suggests that
the present population of the world was descended from Noah's three
sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives.
Until the mid-19th century, this was taken by many as historical
fact, and still is by many Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Many others regard the list as
part of Jewish folk legend.
There are disputes about how many of the peoples of the Earth
this story was intended to cover, and as to its accuracy. Many
Jews, Christians, and Muslims retain the belief that the table
applies to the entire population of the earth, while others read it
as a guide only to local ethnic groups.
In the Biblical view, the listed children of Japheth, Shem and
Ham correspond to various historic nations and peoples. In the
typical interpretation, these sons of Noah correspond to three
races: European, Semitic, and African. Alternate divisions claim:
Euro-asian Japhet, Semitic Shem, and African Ham.
Secular scholarship rejects the historicity of the list, and
holds instead that the genealogy is merely a traditional one, aimed
at explaining the relations between the ethnic groups of the ancient Near
East, perhaps re-edited at the time of the text's final
composition in the 7th century BC.
According to Genesis 10, Noah had three sons:
The names of these sons are thought to have significance related
to Semitic roots. Ham means "warm".
Shem merely means "name" or "renown", "prosperity".
Japheth means "open".
It then proceeds to detail their descendants. The identification
of several of the first generation is aided by the inclusion of the
second, although several of their identifications are less certain.
(The copy of the table in the biblical book of 1
Chronicles chapter 1 has occasional variations in the second
generation, most likely caused by the similarity of Hebrew letters
such as Resh and Daleth). Forms ending in
-im are plurals, probably indicating names of peoples, and
not intended as the name of a single person.
- Gomer, son of Japheth. Usually
identified with the migratory Gimirru (Cimmerians) of Assyrian
inscriptions, attested from about 720 BC).
- Ashkenaz, son of
Gomer. It has been conjectured that this name arose from a misprint
in Hebrew for "Ashkuz", by reading a nun for a vav. Ashkuz and Ishkuz
were names used for the Scythians, who first appear in Assyrian records
in the late 8th century in the Caucasus region, and at times
occupied vast areas of Europe and Asia. Additionally, in Medieval
Germany is known as Ashkenaz, and is the origin of the
term Ashkenazic Jews.
(Diphath in Chronicles), son of Gomer. Identification with
Paphlagonians of later antiquity has been
proposed, but this is uncertain.
- Togarmah, son of
Gomer. Some Armenian and Georgian
traditions have claimed descent from Togarmah; other authors have
attempted to connect them with Turkic peoples.
- Magog, son of Japheth. This name
appears in the Assyrian texts as mat gugu, The Land of Gugu, and
means Lydia. Gugu is known in Greek texts as Gyges. Is claimed as
an ancestor in both Irish and Hungarian
medieval traditions. Flavius Josephus, followed by Jerome and Nennius, makes him ancestor of the Scythians who dwelt north of
the Black Sea.
- Madai, son
of Japheth. The Medes of
Northwest Iran first appear in
Assyrian inscriptions as Amadai in about 844 BC.
- Javan, son
of Japheth. This name is said to be connected with the Ionians, one of the original
- Elishah, son of Javan.
Identifications have been proposed with various Aegean peoples such
as Elis of northwestern Peloponnesos, or Ellis of Phthia.
(Tarshishah in Chronicles), son of Javan. Has been
variously connected with Tarsus in Anatolia, or Tartessus in southern Spain.
- Kittim, offspring of
Javan. Usually connected with Kition in Cyprus, but name appears in other
texts with a variety of interpretations.
(Rodanim in Chronicles), offspring of Javan. Usually
connected with large Aegean island of Rhodes near the coast of Asia Minor.
Note: the Greek Septuagint (LXX) of Genesis includes an
additional son of Japheth, "Elisa", in between Javan and Tubal;
however, as this name is found in no other ancient source, nor in I
Chronicles, he is almost universally agreed to be a duplicate of
Elisha, son of Javan. Nevertheless, the presence of Elisa (as well
as that of Cainan son of Arpachshad, below) in the Greek Bible
accounts for the traditional enumeration among early Christian
sources of 72 families and languages, from the 72 names in this
chapter, as opposed to the 70 names, families and languages usually
found in Jewish sources.
- Tubal, son
of Japheth. He is connected with the Tabali, an Anatolian tribe, and both the Iberians
of the Caucasus and those of the Iberian peninsula
(modern Spain and Portugal), as well as
Illyrians and Italics. In the book of Jubilees he was bequeathed the three 'tongues'
- Meshech, son of Japheth. He is
regarded as the eponym of the Mushki Phrygian tribe of Anatolia who, like the
Tabali, contributed to the collapse of the Hittites ca. 1200 BC. The Mushki are
considered one of the ancestors of the Georgians, but also became
connected with the Sea
Peoples who roved the Mediterranean Sea. Some consider him
father of Moscow, combining his name Meshech (Msc) and his wife's
name, Kva (Cwa).
- Tiras, son
of Japheth. This name is usually connected with that of Thracians, an ancient
nation first appearing in written records around 700 BC. It has
also been associated with some of the Sea Peoples such as Tursha
and Tyrsenoi, with the river Tiras (Dniester), and sometimes with the
Anatolian region of Troas,
dating to the later 13th century BC. In tractate Yoma, of the Talmud, it states that Tiras is Persia.
Japheth is traditionally seen as the ancestor of Europeans, as
well as some more eastern nations; thus Japhetic has been
used as a synonym for Caucasians. Caucasian itself
derives in part from the assumption that the tribe of Japheth
developed its distinctive racial characteristics in the Caucasus, where Mount Ararat is
located. The term Japhetic was also applied by the early linguists (brothers Grimm,
William Jones, Rasmus C. Rask and others) to what later
became known as the Indo-European language group,
on the assumption that, if descended from Japheth, the principal
languages of Europe would have a common origin, which apart from Finno-Ugric, Kartvelian, Pontic, Nakh, Dagestan, and Basque, appears
to be the case. In a conflicting sense, the term was also used by
linguist Nikolai Marr in his Japhetic
theory intended to demonstrate that the languages of the
Caucasus formed part of a once-widespread pre-Indo-European
In classical times, and among a minority of modern students,
various arguments have been proposed that the Roman deity Jupiter may have been a deified Japheth,
and further, that he became known in Greek as 'Iapetos', and in Sanskrit as 'Pra-Japati'. Modern
linguists dispute whether there are any actual connections between
'Pra-Japati', which translates as Lord of Creatures,
Iapetos, Jupiter, a corruption of Dyeus Pater, meaning 'sky
father', and Japheth, meaning open, and attempts
to connect these deities with Japheth are often regarded as poor
scholarship and folk etymology.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Biblical
statement that God shall enlarge Japheth (Genesis 9:27)
was used by some imperialists as a justification for the
"enlargement" of European territories through Imperialism,
interpreted as part of God's plan for the world..
- Cush, son of Ham. The Empire of
Kush to the
south of Egypt is known from at
least 1970 BC, but this name has also been associated by some with
the Kassites who inhabited
area of Mesopotamia, the Sumerian city of Kish.
- Seba, son of Cush. Has been
connected with both Yemen and Eritrea, with much confusion
with Sheba below. (The Shibboleth-like division amongst the
Sabaeans into Sheba and Seba is acknowledged
elsewhere, for example in Psalm 72, leading scholars to suspect that
this is not a mistaken duplication of the same name, but a genuine
historical division. The significance of this division is not yet
completely understood, though it may simply reflect which side of
the sea each was on.)
- Havilah, son of Cush.
Usually considered to be a part of the Arabian peninsula
near the Red Sea.
- Sabtah, son of Cush.
Sometimes connected with Hadhramis (their ancient capital being
Saubatha) in eastern Yemen.
- Raamah, son of Cush. Has
been connected with Rhammanitae mentioned by Strabo in the
southwest Arabian peninsula, and with an Arabian city of Regmah at
the head of Persian Gulf.
- Sabtechah, son of Cush. Possibly Sabaiticum
Ostium, Sabaeans living around a specific harbour in Eritrea.
- Nimrod, son of Cush, also identified as a
mighty hunter before God, and the founder of ancient Babel, Akkad, Sumer, and possibly
cities in Assyria. The Hebrew wording of Genesis 10:11 has led to
some ambiguity as to whether Asshur here is the son of
Shem or a city built by Nimrod; either interpretation can be found
in various modern versions.
- Mizraim, son of Ham. Mizraim is a name
for Upper and Lower Egypt and
literally translates as Ta-Wy in Ancient Egyptian ("The
Two Lands"). The -aim in Mizraim represents dual
number. Arabic-speaking modern Egyptians refer to
their country as miṣr.
- Ludim, offspring of Mizraim.
Sometimes considered a scribal error for Lubim, a
reference to the Lebou of Eastern Libya.
- Anamim, offspring of
Mizraim. There is a reference in an Assyrian inscription from Sargon II's time to Anami,
a tribe located in Cyrene, Libya.
- Lehabim, offspring of Mizraim.
Identification uncertain, possibly Libya.
- Naphtuhim, offspring of Mizraim. Has been
connected with Na-Ptah, the
Egyptian form of Memphis.
- Pathrusim, offspring
of Mizraim. Possibly connected with Egyptian word
Pa-To-Ris meaning southerners.
- Casluhim ("from whom
came the Philistim"), offspring of Mizraim.
- Caphtorim, offspring of Mizraim, associated
with Caphtor, probably Crete, Cyprus, or both.
- Phut, son of
Ham. Ancient authorities are fairly universal in identifying Phut
with the Libyans
(Lebu and Pitu), the earliest neighbors of Egypt
to the west. (Although more recent theories have tried to connect
Phut with Phoenicia, or
the currently unidentified Land of Punt.)
son of Ham. This is known to be the name of a nation and people who
settled the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean in what is now
called Israel and Lebanon.
- Sidon, firstborn son of
Canaan, and name one of the oldest city-states on the Phoenician coast.
- Heth, son of Canaan, considered
ancestor of "Hittites", a people of Canaan,
possibly connected with Hatti, a powerful entity in Anatolia.
- "the Jebusite",
offspring of Canaan, a tribe that lived around Jerusalem, that was formerly known as
Jebus according to the Books of Kings.
- "the Amorite", offspring
of Canaan, a people living between the Jordan and Euphrates rivers
by at least 2000 BC, known as Amurru to the Akkadians and
- "the Girgasite", offspring of Canaan, known to the Egyptians as
the Kirkash. It is suggested they settled east of the Jordan River
Kinneret and the Dead Sea.
- "the Hivite", offspring of Canaan
- "the Arkite", offspring of Canaan, probably
city-state of Arqa in
- "the Sinite", offspring of
Canaan, possibly connected with the Wilderness of Sin, or the Sinn river
- "the Arvadite", offspring of Canaan, refers to
the Phoenician city-state of Arwad.
- "the Zemarite", offspring of Canaan, refers to
the Phoenician city-state of Zemar.
- "the Hamathite", offspring of Canaan, refers to
Syrian city of Hamath.
Africans were thus anciently understood to be the sons of Ham,
particularly his descendant Cush, as Cushites are referred to
throughout scripture as being the inhabitants of East Africa, and they
and the Yoruba
still trace their ancestry through Ham today. Beginning in the 9th
century with the Jewish grammarian Judah ibn Quraysh, a
relationship between the Semitic and Cushitic
languages was seen; modern linguists group these two families,
along with the Egyptian, Berber, Chadic, and
language groups into the larger Afro-Asiatic
linguistic family. In addition, languages in the southern half of
Africa are now seen as belonging to several distinct families
independent of the Afro-Asiatic group. Some now discarded Hamitic theories have become
viewed as racist; in particular a theory proposed in the 19th
century by Speke, that the Tutsi
were supposedly Hamitic and thus inherently superior,
(while the Hutu were seen as just
regarded by some sources as
having ultimately led to the Rwandan Genocide.
Shem is held to be founder of the Semitic peoples. Religious Jews and Arabs
consider themselves sons of Shem through Arpachshad (thus,
son of Shem. The Elamites called themselves the
Haltamti and had an empire (capital Susa) in what is now Khuzistan, modern Iran. Elamite, however, is a non-Semitic
language. It has been controversially grouped with the modern Dravidian languages, into "Elamo-Dravidian".
- Ashur, son
of Shem. The Assyrians
traced themselves to the god-ancestor Ashur and the city he founded by that
name on the Tigris.
- Arpachshad, (also transcribed
Arphaxad) son of Shem. He or his immediate descendants are
credited in Jewish tradition with founding the city of Ur of the Chaldees,
modern southeastern Turkey, although it has also been identified by
some (following the archaeologist Wooley) with the Sumerian city of Ur on the south bank of the Euphrates.
- Lud, son of Shem. Most ancient
authorities assign this name to the Lydians of Eastern Anatolia (Luddu in
Assyrian inscriptions from ca. 700 BC). This name may also be
connected with the earlier Luwians who lived in approximately the same
- Aram, son of Shem. There are
references to a campaign against 'Aram' as early as 2300 BC in the
inscriptions of Naram-Suen of Akkad. His
descendants settled in the city of Haran. There were a number of places named Aram including one in Damascus and another called
Aram-Naharaim or Aram of two
Rivers since it was situated between the Tigris and Euphrates
rivers. There is also Aram-Tzova which is mentioned in
son of Aram. Possibly the ancestors of the Nabataeans, extending from Southern Jordan to Northwestern Saudi Arabia; also
mentioned in Job.
- Hul, son of Aram. Unknown;
possible connection with Lake known in Aramaic as Hulata.
- Gether, son of Aram.
Father of Thamud in Arabic
- Mash, son of Aram (1
Chronicles has Meshech). Unknown; suggestions include
Mashu, an unknown region of
cedars mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh (possibly Lebanon),
and E-Mash-Mash, the main temple at Ninevah in Assyria.
family (genealogy of Abraham)
The genealogy at this point lists several generations of
Arpachshad's descendants, on account of their connection with the
nation and the rest of Genesis:
- Cainan is listed as the
son of Arpachshad and father of Shelah in some ancient sources. The
name is omitted in the Hebrew Masoretic text of
the Hebrew Bible,
but the Greek Septuagint and genealogy of Jesus in St. Luke 3:36 include the name.
- Shelah (also transcribed
Salah) son of Arpachshad (or Cainan).
- Eber son of Shelah, implicitly
indicated as the eponymous
ancestor of the Hebrews.
- Peleg, son of Eber.
Sometimes connected to Phalgu, an ancient town located where the Euphrates and Chaboras
meet. In the table, it is said that the Earth was divided in the
days of Peleg. A threefold division among Ham, Shem and Japheth
preceding the Tower of Babel incident, is elaborated
on in some ancient sources; others assume the 'division' occurred
immediately following it, with the scattering of the nations.
- Joktan, son of Eber.
Sometimes identified with Jectan, an ancient town near Mecca. Considered, as Qahtan, to be
the ancestor of the "Pure Arabs".
- Almodad, son of Joktan.
Has been identified with al-Morad, somewhere in Yemen.
- Sheleph, son of Joktan.
Identified with Salif, Northwest
Yemen. The capital of the Salif was Sulaf.
- Hazarmaveth, son
of Joktan. Identified with Hadhramaut in East Yemen.
son of Joktan. Identified with Jerakon Kome in South central
- Hadoram, son of Joktan.
Identification has been proposed with Hurarina, a town of Southern
Arabia mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions of Ashurbanipal.
Hurarina also happens to be the name of a fruit tree
exclusive to Shewa,
- Uzal, son of Joktan.
Identified with Azalla in Central west Yemen. Azal is the ancient
name of San'a.
son of Joktan. Uncertain, although a connection with
Deqlath (the Syriac form of Tigris) has been suggested.
- Obal, son
of Joktan. Identified with the Abil in Central west Yemen. The Abil are,
according to ancient inscriptions, placed west of the Azalla.
- Abimael, son of Joktan. Though Abimael is
unidentified as a tribe it has traditionally been considered to be
a northern Arabian group.
- Sheba, son of Joktan. Like
Sheba son of Raamah and Seba son of Cush, identified with Sabaeans
of Southern Yemen/Coastal Eritrea.
- Ophir, son of Joktan.
Identified with Afir of Southwest Yemen. Ancient inscriptions place
them between the Huwailah and Sabaeans (roughly where Ma'afir is
- Havilah, son of Joktan.
Identified with Huwailah and Kwahlans of Northwest Yemen.
son of Joktan. Identified with Labibi of Southwest Saudi Arabia.
Their capital was Juhaibab, which ancient inscriptions locate near
Geographic identifications of Flavius Josephus, c. 100 AD
The 1st century Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus, in Antiquities of the Jews
Book 1, chapter 6, was among the first of many who attempted to
assign known ethnicities to some of the names listed in Genesis
chapter 10. His assignments became the basis for most later
authors, and were as follows:
- Gomer: "those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] but were then called
- Aschanax (Ashkenaz): "Aschanaxians, who are now called by the
- Riphath: "Ripheans, now called Paphlagonians".
- Thrugramma (Togarmah): "Thrugrammeans, who, as the Greeks
resolved, were named Phrygians".
- Magog: "Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called
- Madai: "the Madeans, who are called Medes, by the Greeks".
- Javan: "Ionia, and all the Grecians".
- Elisa: "Eliseans... they are now the Aeolians".
- Tharsus (Tarshish): "Tharsians, for so was Cilicia of old called". He also derives the
name of their city Tarsus from Tharsus.
- Cethimus (Kittim): "The island Cethima: it is now called
Cyprus". He also derives the Greek name of their city, which he
spells Citius, from Cethimus.
- Thobel (Tubal): "Thobelites, who are now called Iberes".
- Mosoch (Meshech): "Mosocheni... now they are Cappadocians." He also
derives the name of their capital Mazaca from Mosoch.
- Thiras (Tiras): "Thirasians; but the Greeks changed the name
- Chus (Cush): "Ethiopians... even at this day, both by
themselves and by all men in Asia, called Chusites".
- Sabas (Seba): Sabeans
- Evilas (Havilah): "Evileans, who are called Getuli".
- Sabathes (Sabta): "Sabathens, they are now called by the Greeks
- Sabactas (Sabteca): Sabactens
- Ragmus (Raamah): Ragmeans
- Judadas (Dedan): "Judadeans, a nation of the western
- Sabas (Sheba): Sabeans
- Mesraim (Misraim): Egypt, which he says is called
Mestre in his country.
- "Now all the children of Mesraim, being eight in number,
possessed the country from Gaza to Egypt, though it retained the
name of one only, the Philistim; for the Greeks call part of that
country Palestine. As for the rest, Ludieim, and Enemim,
and Labim, who alone inhabited in Libya, and called the country
from himself, Nedim, and Phethrosim, and Chesloim, and Cephthorim,
we know nothing of them besides their names; for the Ethiopic war
which we shall describe hereafter, was the cause that those cities
- Phut: Libya. He states that a river and region "in the country
of Moors" was still called Phut by the Greeks, but that it
had been renamed "from one of the sons of Mesraim, who was called
- Canaan: Judea, which he called "from his own name Canaan".
- Sidonius (Sidon): The city of Sidonius, "called by the Greeks
- Amathus (Hamathite): "Amathine, which is even now called Amathe
by the inhabitants, although the Macedonians named it Epiphania,
from one of his posterity."
- Arudeus (Arvadite): "the island Aradus".
- Arucas (Arkite): "Arce, which is in Libanus".
- "But for the seven others [sons of Canaan], Chetteus, Jebuseus,
Amorreus, Gergesus, Eudeus, Sineus, Samareus, we have nothing in
the sacred books but their names, for the Hebrews overthrew their
- Elam: "Elamites, the ancestors of the Persians".
- Ashur: Assyrians, and their city Niniveh built by Ashur.
- Arphaxad: "Arphaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans".
- Heber (Eber): "from whom they originally called the Jews
- Phaleg (Peleg): He notes that he was so named "because he was
born at the dispersion of the nations to their several countries;
for Phaleg among the Hebrews signifies division".
- "Elmodad, Saleph, Asermoth, Jera, Adoram, Aizel, Decla, Ebal,
Abimael, Sabeus, Ophir, Euilat, and Jobab. These inhabited from
Cophen, an Indian river, and in part of Asia adjoining to it."
- Aram: "Aramites, which the Greeks called Syrians".
- Laud (Lud): "Laudites, which are now called Lydians".
The chronicle of Hippolytus of Rome (c. 234),
existing in numerous Latin and Greek copies, make
another attempt to assign ethnicities to the names in Genesis 10,
in some cases similar to those of Josephus, but with many
differences, which are:
- Gomer - Cappadocians
- Ashkenaz - Sarmatians
- Riphath - Sauromatians
- Togarmah - Armenians
- Magog - Galatians, Celts
- Elishah - Siculi (Chron Pasc: Trojans and
- Tarshish - Iberians, Tyrrhenians
- Kittim - Macedonians, Romans, Latins
- Tubal - "Hettali" (?)
- Meshech - Illyrians
- Ludim - Lydians
- Anamim - Pamphylians
- Pathrusim - Lycians (var.:
- Caphtorim - Cilicians
- Put - Troglodytes
- Canaan - Afri and Phoenicians
- Lud - Halizones
- Cainan - "those east of the Sarmatians" (one variant)
- Aram - "Etes" ?
The Chronicle of 354, the Panarion by Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 375),
the Chronicon Paschale (c. 627),
the History of Albania by the Georgian historian Movses
Kaghankatvatsi (7th century), and the Synopsis of
Histories by John Skylitzes (c. 1057) follow the
identifications of Hippolytus.
Jerome, writing ca. 390,
provided an 'updated' version of Josephus' identifications in his
Hebrew Questions on Genesis. His list is substantially
identical to that of Josephus in almost all respects, but with the
following notable differences:
- Thubal, son of Japheth: "Iberians, who are also the Spaniards
from whom derive the Celtiberians, although certain people
suppose them to be the Italians."
- Gether, son of Aram: "Acarnanii or Carians"
- Mash, son of Aram: Maeones
The scholar Isidore of Seville, in his Etymologiae (ca.
600), repeats all of Jerome's identifications, but with these minor
- Joktan, son of Eber: Indians
- Saleph, son of Joktan: Bactrians
- Magog, son of Japheth: "Scythians and Goths"
- Ashkenaz, son of Gomer: "Sarmatians, whom the Greeks call
Isidore's identifications for Japheth's sons were repeated in
the Historia Britonum attributed to Nennius. Isidore's
identifications also became the basis for numerous later mediaeval
The Middle East through eyes of the ancient Israelites. Genesis 10
as reconstructed after the Documentary hypothesis
The text of Gen. 10 includes some apparent "doublets" in the form of two
separate lines of descent covering certain groups in Yemen and the
surrounding regions — one of these indicating descent from Ham via
Cush; the other from Shem via Joktan. Specifically, the Sabaeans
(under the similar names Sheba and Seba), Huwaila
(under Havilah), and possibly Hadhramaut (if
Hazarmaveth is to be equated with Sabtah as a
name representing its capital), appear to be in both lineages. (Gen
10:11, translated in the KJV as "Out of that land went forth
Asshur, and built Niniveh, etc…", is taken in some modern
translations to mean that the city of "Asshur" was one of
those built by Nimrod; however, this is but a single verse in the
Hebrew, with dual English interpretations, and not a genuine
In the documentary hypothesis, these
doublets are taken as certain signs of multiple authorship; on this
account, the theory identifies hypothetical Jahwist (J) and Priestly (P) sources as having two
quite different genealogies later combined into the present table.
It must be remembered that these hypothetical sources have never
been archaeologically or otherwise attested, and are only
reconstructions by modern scholars who hold this theory. These
sources are seen as originating some 150-300 years apart, with the
later source, the Priestly, rewriting the Jahwist's account to
reflect their own view concerning ethnology. While both sources are
considered to have divided the groups into Shem, Ham, and Japheth,
the descent beyond these is reconstructed quite differently. To the
Jahwist source are ascribed the account of Nimrod and his cities,
as well as the descendants of Joktan, Canaan, and Mizraim; while to
the Priestly source are ascribed the account of the descendants of
Cush and Japheth.
The Jahwist source would thus exhibit a worldview concerned
heavily with Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Arab tribes viewed to have
originated from around Mecca (a holy site since ancient times), and
Canaan. Rather than a table, the Jahwist source is reconstructed as
more of a narrative structure. Preceded by the tale of the curse of Ham, the
Jahwist reconstruction describes Ham's son Cush fathering Nimrod,
who is subsequently described as going on to found the great cities
of Mesopotamia, then details the sons of Canaan and Mizraim.
A more genealogical line is given by the Jahwist reconstruction
for Shem, going down the generations in a straight line until
Joktan is reached, and, like elsewhere in the Jahwist text, though
Joktan is not on the line himself, as the son of Eber, a major
Patriarch on the line (the eponymous founder of the Hebrews,
Eberu), Joktan's own descendants are described. The name
of Joktan's purported brother, Peleg, is etymologically
related to the word Pulukku in Akkadian, meaning
divided by boundaries, and by borders, and Palgu
in Assyrian, meaning divided by canals, and by irrigation
systems. While Peleg is believed by some to be present in the
narrative to indicate origin via the city of Phalgu, the comment
after his name, that in his day the earth was divided, is
thought in critical circles to simply be a convenient pun in order
to insert the story of the Tower of Babel into the Jahwist's
narrative. In the Jahwist reconstruction, Japheth has previously
been described, within the tale of Ham's curse, as going on to
dwell in the tents of Shem, and hence is not indicated as
having any children of his own.
According to the dates given by critical scholars, the areas of
the Mediterranean and the Caucasus had become much more developed
over the years between the Jahwist and Priestly sources. The
Egyptians had become much more unified (having largely recovered
from the Third
Intermediate Period). Thus, while the reconstructed Priestly
source does not include the subdivisions within Egypt, it does
include details of groups in the eastern Mediterranean
(Javan, Tubal, Meschech, Tiras)
and Caucasus (Gomer, Madai), attaching them to
Japheth, perhaps since his descendants are not identified by the
Jahwist. Mesopotamia retained its importance, and the Priestly
source, a text reconstructed with a favouritism for long dry lists,
extends the detail concerning its genealogy given by the Jahwist,
presenting a more complicated ethnological tree. The Arab groups of
the Yemen area also seem to have been viewed as retaining
importance, as the hypothetical Priestly source considered them
still worth detailing, though presenting an origin for them in the
more significant Nubia (via Cush), rather than from around
Mecca. There is little narrative quality in the text usually
ascribed to the priestly source; essentially it resembles simply a
raw list of names, with the occasional indication of familial
There exist various traditions in post-bibilical sources
claiming that Noah had children other than Shem, Ham, and Japheth,
born variously before, during, or after the Deluge.
According to the Quran (Hud v. 42-43), Noah had another unnamed
son who refused to come aboard the Ark, instead preferring to climb
a mountain, where he drowned. Some later Islamic commentators give
his name as either Yam or Kan'an.
According to Irish mythology, Noah had another son
named Bith, who was not allowed
aboard the Ark, and who attempted to colonise Ireland with 54
persons, only to be wiped out in the Deluge.
Some 9th century manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles assert that
the fourth son of Noah, born aboard the Ark, from whom the House of
Wessex traced their ancestry;
in William of Malmesbury's version
of this genealogy (c. 1120), Sceaf is instead made a descendant of
Strephius, the fourth son born aboard the Ark.
An early Arabic work known as Kitab al-Magall or the
Book of Rolls (part of Clementine literature) mentions
Bouniter, the fourth son of Noah, born after the
flood, who allegedly invented astronomy and instructed Nimrod.
Variants of this story with often similar names for Noah's fourth
son are also found in the ca. 5th century Ge'ez work Conflict of Adam and
Eve with Satan (Barvin), the ca. 6th
century Syriac book Cave of
Treasures (Yonton), the 7th century
Pseudo-Methodius (Ionitus), the
of the Bee 1221 (Yônatôn), the Hebrew
Chronicles of Jerahmeel,
ca. 12th-14th cent. (Jonithes), and throughout
Armenian apocryphal literature, where he is usually referred to as
Maniton; as well as in works by Petrus Comestor
c. 1160 (Jonithus), Godfrey of Viterbo 1185
(Ihonitus), Michael the Syrian 1196
(Maniton), Abu Salih the
Armenian c. 1208 (Abu Naiţur); Jacob van
Maerlant c. 1270 (Jonitus), Abraham Zacuto
1504 (Yoniko) and Jehiel ben Solomon Heilprin
c. 1697 (Yuniku).
Opava (c. 1250), later versions of the Mirabilia Urbis Romae, and
the Chronicon Bohemorum of Giovanni di Marignola (1355)
make Janus (i.e., the Roman deity) the
fourth son of Noah, who moved to Italy, invented astrology, and instructed
According to the monk Annio da Viterbo (1498), the
Hellenistic Babylonian writer Berossus had mentioned 30 children born to
Noah after the Deluge, including sons named Tuiscon, Prometheus, Iapetus, Macrus, "16 titans",
Cranus, Granaus, Oceanus,
and Tipheus. Also mentioned are daughters of Noah named
Araxa "the Great", Regina, Pandora, Crana, and Thetis. However, Annio's manuscript is widely
regarded today as having been a forgery.
According to Jewish tradition the inhabitants of the Ark,
including the humans, were not allowed to mate, therefore Noah
could not have had any children while on the Ark. Directly after
coming out of the Ark, Noah got drunk and according to Jewish
tradition was castrated by his son Ham, preventing him from having
any more offspring.
A., Genesis: Critically and Exegetically Expounded,
Vol. 1, Edinburgh, UK, T. and T. Clark, 1897, 314.
- Kautzsch, E.F.: quoted by James Orr, "The
Early Narratives of Genesis," in The Fundamentals, Vol. 1, Los
Angeles, CA, Biola Press, 1917.