The Descendants of Japheth

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 9, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Today we're looking at part 3 of a series about the Table of Nations found in Genesis 10—a long list of people who descended from Noah's sons. These people named are very frequently associated with people groups we still see today. Some have had their common names altered over the thousands of years that have passed since their founding, but these alterations are often easy to track. Last time, we looked at England and the sources of the British people (as well as the British name and the English name). We also noted that Germans can trace their lineage back to Ashkenaz, a son of Gomer, a son of Japheth. Interestingly, a group of people from China also trace their ancestry back to Lo Jah-phu, aka Japheth, and further back to Nuah (Noah), Lama (Lamech), Se-teh (Seth), and Dirt (Adam, which sounds like the Hebrew word for ground). This week, we'll finish up discussing most of Japheth's descendants.

Japheth had a son named Madai. Madai's descendants later became the Medes (named after Madai) and the Persians. These people are now found in present day Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several other countries in that area. The Medes and Persians are historically significant in that they formed the Medo-Persian Empire under Cyrus (mentioned in the Bible) from about 500-300 BC. Josephus, a Jewish/Roman historian, mentions them in his chronicles, indicating that Madai's descendants were the Madeans, who were called the Medes by the Greeks.

Japheth's sons, Gomer (who founded the Gomerites) and Magog (who founded the Magogites), had descendants that were called the Celts and Sythians. Hesiod, considered the father of Greek didactic poetry and literature, identified Magog with the Scythians and southern Russia about 600 BC, written prior to the book of Ezekiel. Some of Gomer's lineage were called the Galls and later the Galatians. The Irish Celts claim to have descended from Magog, while the Welsh Celts claim to have come from Gomer. The fact is that archaeology and ethnologists can trace these people living in close relation to each other, frequently intermingling and sharing a great many things as they spread into Europe. Those who stayed in Asia Minor were known as the Gauls (Galls) while those that traveled into Russia and Eastern Europe were the Celto-Sythae. They continued to spread across Europe until they reached Ireland. Interestingly, France was called Gaul for some time based on the people who lived there—these descendants of Gomer. Gomerites spread into Spain as well. The Gauls lost their land to the Franks and the land has since been called France. Northwest Spain is still called Galicia after these people. The Welsh people still refer to their language as the Gomeraeg (again, after Gomer, their great great … grandfather).

Other descendants of Gomer found their way to Germany and Scandinavia. The Germans were descended from Ashkenaz (previously mentioned) and some were known as the Goths as well as other groups. Germans also have a heritage going back to Asshur of Shem. When the Askaeni arrived in northern Europe, the land was called Ascania, which later became Scandia, which is where we get Scandinavia. Some of these people eventually became the Saxons (whom we discussed last time). I hope I'm not the only one that thinks this stuff is very cool and extremely interesting. There seems to be evidence that some of Shem's descendants made it into Germany as well and the surrounding area. We'll get to that later when we discuss Shem's lineage.

The name “Caucasian” may likely have come from the name Magog. A Thracian tribe referred to southern Russia as “Gog-chasen.” This means “fortress of Gog.” Gog-chasen can easily be worked into Caucasian, which names a mountain range in southern Russia near the Black and Caspian Seas. These were lighter skinned people that have historically been considered the descendants of Japheth.

Herodotus, the “father of history,” wrote about some of these people centuries before Christ and had no reason to support the Biblical narrative (since he's Greek and not Jewish). He specifically mentions several of them (I referenced that a bit last time). He obviously used the people groups' Greek names, but we can trace them back to the families mentioned in Genesis and the Table of Nations. Josephus also connected people in his day to those mentioned in the Table of Nations with much agreement with other historians like Herodotus. He specifically mentions Scythian as being Magogians (descendants of Magog, son of Japheth, son of Noah). Another historian, Strabo, a Greek, mentions the Gogarians. Scholars believe the name Gogarian is a variant of Gog. This people occupied what is southern Russia, Georgia, and Armenia (or thereabouts). Numerous historians from various time periods referenced these people and this land, hinting at their ancestral line going to Magog. Even the name of the nation of Georgia is most likely a variant of Gogarene.

There is so much more to write about Japheth and his descendants, but there just isn't enough time or space for that. I will end this section with a paragraph quote from Tom Osterholm's writing on the subject:

“Early history shows that the Japhethites split into two groups. One group settled in the region of present day India and Central Asia, and the other group in the European theater. Indo-European languages originate from those people groups who migrated through western Eurasia. Together they form what is known as the ‘Indo-European’ family of nations. Both of these divisions trace their ancestry back to Japheth. For example, early Aryans knew him as Djapatischta (chief of the race), Greeks referred to him as Japatos, East Indians called him Jyapeti, Romans called him Jupiter, the Saxons perpetuated his name as Iafeth subsequently transliterated as Sceaf (pronounced sheef or shaif and recorded his name in their early genealogies as the son of Noah, the forebearer of their various peoples), and the variant Seskef was used by early Scandinavians. All of these peoples, we must remember, were pagans whose knowledge or even awareness of the book of Genesis had been lost or was non-existent.”

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