We left off in the 1Chronicles genealogy with Noah's sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Genesis chapter nine tells us,
Gen. 9:18-19 Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.
From Noah's three sons, have come every people group in the world today. Through the Bible's history, we can gather much information about the nations' ancestry.
As we go through the next 23 verses, we will see the author of Chronicles list the descendants of each of these three men. As we examine them, we will find that Genesis 10 will give us the same information, along with some extra details as we go along.
Before we delve into this genealogy, I believe it is important for us to see the history of the three men themselves. As we have read, they survived the worldwide flood with their parents and wives by entering the ark (Gen. 7:13). As Simon Peter described it,
1Pet. 3:20 ...a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
Once the floodwaters subsided and they exited the ark, the Lord told Noah and his sons,
Gen. 9:7 "...be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it."
Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard. Sounds like a positive pasttime, until we read that...
Gen. 9:21-23 He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness.
We immediately see the contrast between Ham and his two brothers regarding righteousness. When Noah woke up and sobered up, he spoke blessings and curses to his sons based on what they'd done (As you read what Noah said, remember that Ham's son was Canaan).
Gen. 9:25-27 ..."Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant."
Now, let's look at the genealogies of Noah's sons, and see how this pans out.
1Chr. 1:5-7 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Maw-DAH-ee, Yaw-VAWN, Tubal, MEH-shekh and Tee-RAWCE. The sons of Gomer were Ash-ken-AZ, Dee-FATH, and To-gar-MAW. The sons of Yaw-VAWN were El-ee-SHAW, Tar-SHEESH, Kittim and Ro-daw-NEEM.
The first genealogy listed is for Noah's son Japheth. He was one of the two that covered Noah's shame. Japheth's seven sons are listed, but only the genealogies of Gomer and Yaw-VAWN are given.
Gomer, and his descendants through To-gar-MAW, are spoken of in Ezekiel:
Ezek. 38:6 Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north...
Gomer, or his descendants, headed north of Ararat. Josephus wrote that "Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] but were then called Gomerites" (Ant. 1.6.1). As you recall from our study of the epistle to the Galatians, Galatia was located in what we today call Turkey.
Over the course of time, the Gauls moved west to the region we call France and Spain. You may remember from High School History class that France used to be called Gaul. And those familiar with Spain will recognize the name Galicia as being the northwest of that country.
History also records the descendants of Gomer settling the areas of the British Isles and Germany, and Turkey. It is believed that the name Turkey comes from Gomer's son To-gar-MAW, and Germany's Hebrew name, Ash-ken-AZ, is also directly from one of Gomer's sons.
This is a good time to point something out. A vital key for Bible students to understand the Scriptures is to acknowledge that names of places change throughout the centuries. For example,
-Russia's city of St Petersburg, founded in 1703, was renamed Petrograd in 1914, called Leningrad ten years later, only to be called St Petersburg again at the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
-When John F. Kennedy was assasinated, Lyndon Johnson announced that he was renaming Florida's Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy. After ten years and a lot of protest, the name was changed back.
-Even The Orange County Airport in California was renamed John Wayne Airport in 1979!
When countries change their names, it is often because of a combination of new borders and new leaders. In the last 13 years, 26 new nations have appeared on our maps, through name changes, independance, and of course, the USSR breaking apart.
- Czeckoslovakia split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
- The former Yugoslvia is now Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, and Slovenia.
In an ever-changing world, we know that the map-makers will never be out of a job. But at the same time, how can God communicate prophetically the future actions of nations, cities, and people groups if their names a constantly changing? God uses their ancient founders and original names. Iran is not mentioned in the Bible, but Persia is. Iraq is not mentioned in the Bible, because the British only gave it that name in 1922. But Mesopotamia, Iraq's ancient name, is all through the Scriptures, as is Babylon, Nineveh, Ur of the Chaledeans, the Euphrates River, and the land of Shinar.
Let's use another example: Although their genealogies are not given here, Japheth's sons Magog, Tubal, and MEH-shekh are known to be the ancestors of the Scythians and other northern peoples, which today spans the area of Romania, the Ukraine, and much of Russia.
It is interesting to me that we have retained the name of Rosh for that large area we call Russia, that Tubal has been kept as the city of Tobolsk, and MEH-shekh is the basis for the name of the city of Moscow.
But we don't expect the Bible to say, "And you nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia..." because these former Soviet Republics have all come about within the last two decades.
There are some interesting end-times prophecies in Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20 regarding Gog, who is called the prince of the people of Magog, Tubal, MEH-shekh, and Rosh.
Maybe you've heard Bible teachers talk about the Russians attempting to invade Israel in the last days, and being miraculously stopped. This is where we discover this in Scripture:
Ezek. 38:18-39:5 "It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," declares the Lord GOD, "that My fury will mount up in My anger. In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground. I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains," declares the Lord GOD. "Every man's sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD. And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand. You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken," declares the Lord GOD.
The way we can definitively say who these nations attempting to invade Israel are is to look at the ancient names by which God calls them. The peoples in the north, descendants of Japheth's sons Magog, Tubal, And MEH-shekh, will attempt an invasion of Israel. Fortunately, the attempt is all God will allow!
Yaw-VAWN's descendants migrated to Greece and Cyprus. This has also been retained, for the Hebrew word for Greece is "Yaw-VAWN." It appears that Yaw-VAWN's son Tarshish went down to Northern Africa, on the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
And so, based on everything we've seen, Noah's son Japheth is the father of the vast majority of the European peoples, those we would call, "Caucasians."
Gen. 10:5 From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.
1Chr. 1:8 The sons of Ham were Cush, Mits-RAH-yim, Put, and Canaan.
We're not going to read all of the names of Ham's grandsons, nor are we going to take as much time tracing the rest of the lineages as we did with Japheth.
But it is important to note several things:
First, Ham, who had behaved wickedly towards his father, and was consequently cursed, became the father of the Canaanites, who God ultimately destroyed in their entirety.
Second, Ham's descendants moved south into Arabia and Africa, inhabiting Egypt, Ethiopia, and populating the rest of the continent.
Thirdly, it is also notable in Ham's family tree is his grandson Nimrod. Nimrod was the first dictator on the earth, the founder of Babylon, which brought about every false religion in the world. "How can that be," you may ask.
Gen. 10:8-10 Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD." The beginning of his kingdom was Babel
The inhabitants of Babel built the tower of Babel. Babel became known as Babylon, which is called in the Scriptures,
Rev. 17:5 ..."BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."
Babylon gave birth to every false religion and religious practice.
Noah's son Shem had nine sons. These spread throughout what we think of as the middle east, going eastward to modern Pakistan and India.
Although there was quite a bit of overlap between the territories of Shem's descendants and Ham's (especially in the Arabian Peninsula), if we were going to generalize in very broad terms, then, Japheth's people went north, Ham's people went south, and Shem's people went east.
One line of Shem's descendants is traced in verses 24 to 27:
1Chr. 1:24-27 Shem, Ar-pak-SHAD, SHEH-lakh, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Naw-KHORE, Terah, Abram, that is Abraham.
Shem is the ancestor of the Jews, giving us the name of the Semitic peoples, and Shem's great-grandson Eber gives us the origin of the word "Hebrews."
In these two studies, we have traced human history from Adam to Abraham. In our next study, we'll pick up the pace as the history of the Jews is unfolded before us.