With recognition of the additional Bible assistance received from the Jewish Technical Education NGO — ORT, based in Israel. Click here for some of ORT's background.
Click here to see Japheth's descendants
Click here to see Ham's descendants
Click here to see Shem's descendants
Click here to see a population report on the World's Nations Today
Regarding maps, click here for a map of the known world about the time of Josephus and Christ, put together by a Greek geographer Strabo, who lived in Pontus (near the Black Sea) in modern day Turkey. It interestingly shows early latitude lines based on the length of its longest day (in hours) at the summer solstice, about 21st June. Thus the equator shows 12 "equinoctial" hours (equal both night and day), Jerusalem is in between zone 3 and zone 4 or about 14¼ hours, while London's zone is "adiectus" — "furthest reach" (from Rome) — about 16½ hours of sunlight in summer (and very long winter nights).
Click here for a more detailed map of the West, about 400AD. Click here for a map of the East showing trade routes recorded by the Egyptian geographer Ptolemy, about 150AD (from this page).
Josephus was a Jewish general, a descendant of the priestly Maccabee tribe at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. In 71 AD Roman Emperor Vespasian commissioned Josephus to write a history of this war, which he finished in 78 AD. His second major work, the Antiquities of the Jews was a 20 volume work, completed around 93 AD. It was a commentary in Greek that fleshed out the Book of Genesis as well as providing a background to the Jews from the time of Abraham to that present time. He next wrote Against Apion in about
With regard to Jesus, below are the words he is recorded as having written that were published in paragraph 3, chapter 3, Book 18 of Antiquities of the Jews:
"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."
The extract below is from Answers in Genesis quoting from Josephus Book 1 of Antiquities of the Jews.
Click here to view a graphical image of this layout in a separate page.
The following are excerpts from Josephus’s Antiquity of Jews as translated by William Whiston and adapted in the Online Bible. The names of Noah’s grandsons are numbered, and his great-grandsons have a letter associated with their father’s number, etc.
Now they were the grandchildren of Noah, in honour of whom names were imposed on the nations by those who first settled them.
Japheth, the son of Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so, that, beginning at the mountains
1. Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians (Gauls / Celts), but were then called Gomerites (Cimmerians).
2. Magog founded those who from him were named Magogites (or Mongols), but who are also by the Greeks called Scythians, doubtless due to their settling down with their nephew, Ashkenaz, see note 1A above. As mentioned in that note, they were the Slavic (enslaved) nomadic peoples of ancient Russia from east to west, from the horseback riding Mongols (or Tartars) in the far east to the Huns, a Scythian tribe in the near east.
Click here for an Arab reference to the Mongols, in bible.ort.org. Click here for further background on Gog and Magog, including their enslaving (and enslavement).
Click here for the reference in Ezekiel 38.
3. Now as to Javan and Madai, the sons of Japheth, from Madai came the Madeans, who are called Medes by the Greeks (modern day north-western Iran) who later spread into northern India, and identified by the Greek historian, Herodotus, with the Aryan (noble) race from which comes Persia's modern name (Iran). Many of the Kurds of today consider themselves the modern descendants of the Medes.
4. But from Javan, Ionia, and all the Greeks, are derived. Note, in the Greek legend of the flood, very much a local affair, Deucalion and his wife were left as the only surviving humans on earth (c. 1528BC). They have a son Hellen (pronounced Helleen), from which comes the Greek word for itself, "Hellas", and two grandsons, Graecus and Latinus, from which we get those words "Greek" and "Latin".
5. Thobel or Tubal founded the Thobelites, who are now called Iberes (Georgia).
Tubal is also identified by many with settlements around the Tiber River (in Italy) and the Ebra River in the Iberian Peninsula, which the Romans later named Hispania, or Spain, home place for the later Sephardi Jews,
6. and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch or Meshech, now they are Cappadocians, much of central modern day Turkey. There is also a mark of their ancient name still to be shown, for there is even now among them a city called Mazaca, which may inform those who are able to understand, that so was the entire nation once called.
Identified by many also with the Moscow River and the city of Moscow to the north Click here.
7. Thiras or Tiras also called those whom he ruled over, Thirasians, but the Greeks changed the name into Thracians in northern Greece. And so many were the countries that had the children of Japheth for their inhabitants.
And so many nations have the children and grandchildren of Japheth possessed.
The children of Ham possessed the land from Syria and Amanus (ancient Antioch), and the mountains of Libanus (modern day Lebanon), settling all that was on its sea coasts (in Africa) and as far as the (Atlantic) ocean, and keeping it as their own. Some indeed of its names are utterly vanished away, others of them, being changed, and another sound given them, are hardly to be discovered, yet a few there are which have kept their names entire.
1. For of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the name of Cush, for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Cushites.
2. The memory also of the Mesraites is preserved in their name, for all we who inhabit this country [of Judea] called Egypt Mestre [Mizraim], and the Egyptians Mestreans.
3. Phut also was the founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself, there is also a river in the country of Moors which bears that name, where it is that we may see the greatest part of the Greek historiographers mention that river and the adjoining country by the appellation of Phut,
but the name it has now, has been by change given it from one of the sons of Mizraim, who was called Lybyos. We will inform you presently what has been the occasion why it has been called Africa also (ie from Epher, son of Midian and grandson of Abraham
4. Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, inhabited the country now called Judea, and called it from his own name Canaan.
The children of these were these:
1A. Sabas Seba, who founded the Sabeans (Yemen),
1B. Evilas or Havilah, who founded the Evileans, who are called Getuli,
1C. Sabathes or Sabtah, founded the Sabathens—they are now called by the Greeks, Astaborans,
1D. Sabactas or Sabtechah settled the Sabactens, and
1E. Ragmus or Raamah the Ragmeans, and he had two sons, the one of whom, Judadas or Dedan, settled the Judadeans, a nation of the Western Ethiopians, and left them his name, as did Sabas Sheba to the Sabeans.
Josephus Book 2 Chapter 10 Paragraph 2 states that this Sheba, spelled differently from Seba (Yemen), was a royal city of Ethiopia, which Cambyses (circa 440 BC) afterwards named Mero, after the name of his own sister.
1F. But Nimrod, the son of Cush, stayed and tyrannized at Babylon, as we have already informed you.
Nimrod also built the cities of Erech (Uruk) and Accad (Akkad). He is thus associated by many with the mostly legendary account of Gilgamesh (of Uruk) and with Sargon of Akkad.
Akkadian incidentally, is the language used on those
Now all the children of Mizraim, being eight in number, possessed the country from Gaza to Egypt, though it retained the name of one only,
2A. the Philistim for the Greeks call part of that country Palestine.
2B. As for the rest, Ludicim or Ludim, and
2C. Enemim or Anamim, and
2D. Labim or Lehabim, who alone inhabited in Libya, and called the country from himself,
2E. Nedim or Naphtuhim and
2F. Phethrosim or Pathrusim, and
2G. Chesloim or Casluhim, and
2H. Caphthorim or Caphtorim, we know nothing of them besides their names, for the Ethiopic war, which we shall describe hereafter, was the cause that those cities were overthrown.
4A. The sons of Canaan were these: Sidonius, who also built a city of the same name—it is called by the Greeks, Sidon,
4B. Amathus or Hamath inhabited in Amathine, which is even now called Amathe by the inhabitants, although the Macedonians named it Epiphania, from one of his posterity Antiochus Epiphanes,
4C. Arudeus or Arvadite possessed the island Aradus,
4D. Arucas or Arkite possessed Arce, which is in Libanus — Lebanon, but for the seven others,
4E. Chetteus — or Heth,
4F. Jebuseus or Jebusite,
4G. Amorreus or Amorite,
4H. Gergesus or Girgasite,
4I. Eudeus or Hivite,
4J. Sineus — or Sinite,
4K. Samareus or Zemarite we have nothing in the sacred books but their names, for the Hebrews overthrew their cities, and their calamities came upon them on the occasion following.
Now, while Josephus was unfamiliar with the outcome of Heth (i.e. the Hittites), the following extract comes from www.wikinoah.org:
Heth (Hittites) and Sin (Sinites) are believed by many to be the progenitors of the families of China and Mongolia. "Hittite" in Cuneiform appears as Khittae, representing a once powerful nation from the Far East, preserved through the centuries in the more familiar Chinese term, Cathay. "Sin", a brother of Heth, has many occurrences in variant forms in the Far East. Many believe the reference to the Sinim in Isaiah 49:12 is a reference to China. Those who came from the Far East to trade with the Scythians were called Sinae (Sin). Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer, referred to China as the land of Sinim or Sin. Arabs called China Sin, Chin, Mahachin, or Machin. The Ch'in (from which the name "China" is taken) were spoken of as a people in the remotest parts of Asia. Their most important town was Xian (pronounced Shee-an), a great trading emporium in the province of Shensi. The Ch'in became independent in Western China, their princes reigning there for some 650 years before they finally gained dominion over the whole land. In 217 B.C., Prince Cheng unified China and took the title of Shih Hwang-ti (First Emperor). Shih Hwang-ti built much of the Great Wall of China, and a network of roads and canals that converged on his capital, near modern Xian, in Shensi province.
With respect to the Cathay people of historical reference, it would make sense to suppose that the remnants of the Hittites, after the destruction of their empire, travelled towards the east and settled among the Sinites who were relatives, contributing to their civilization, and thus becoming the ancestors of many Asian people groups in Asia and the Americas.
Click here for a recent article on ancient Chinese history by Hieromonk Damascene.
Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons, who inhabited the land that began at Euphrates, and reached to the Indian Ocean.
1. For Elam left behind him the Elamites modern day south-western Iran, the ancestors of the Persians modern day eastern Iran (& Tajikistan). Their most famous leader was
2. Ashur lived at the city of Nineveh, and named his subjects Assyrians (north Iraq), who became the most fortunate nation beyond others.
3. Arphaxad named the Arphaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans (south Iraq).
4. as Laud or Lud founded the Laudites, which are now called Lydians (west Turkey).
5. Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks called Syrians,
Of the four sons of Aram,
5A. Uz founded Trachonitis and Damascus, this country lies between Palestine and Coelosyria.
5B. Ul or Hul founded Armenia, and
5C. Gather or Gether the Bactrians (Pakistan/Afghanistan), and
5D. Mesa or Mash the Mesaneans, it is now called Characene (Kuwait).
3A. Sala or Salah was the son of Arphaxad,
3A1. and his son was Heber, from whom they originally called the Jews Hebrews.
3A1A. Heber's sons Joktan and Peleg: he was called Peleg, because he was born at the dispersion of the nations to their various countries, for Peleg among the Hebrews signifies Division.
Now Joktan, one of the sons of Heber, had these sons: Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. These inhabited from Cophen (now known as the Kabul River in Afghanistan) and in part of Asia adjoining to it. And this shall suffice concerning the sons of Shem.
Note, in Genesis 2:10-12 we are told that
"a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good."
Josephus declared that this Pishon River that encompassed the land of Havilah was in fact the River Ganges click here for this reference.
Click here to see a map showing the town of Gangotri in India, the source of the River Ganges, and Mount Kailash in Tibet, the source of the Indus nearby. This land, later renamed as India from The Indus (literally, The River), was settled by these 13 sons of Joktan, as it says in Genesis 10:30 "The territory they occupied extended from Mesha (thought by many to be close to Mashhad in Iran, the start of the Silk Road) all the way to Sephar in the eastern mountains" (i.e. the Himalayas).
The land was famous for its gold: as well as the reference in Genesis 2 to Havilah, there are also numerous references to the gold of Ophir. Sadly however, used to build numerous idols for worship, as it says in
** End of Extract
Postscript: Some emails on India and China