Genesis 10:2

The Japhethites

2 The sons[a] of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.

Genesis 10:2 in Other Translations

2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
2 The descendants of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Tiras.
2 Japheth's sons: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

Genesis 10:2 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 10:2

The sons of Japheth
Who though mentioned last, the genealogy begins with him, by a figure which rhetoricians call a "chiasm". The posterity of Japheth are those whom Hesiod F26 often calls (iapetionidhv) , "Iapetionides", and him (iapetov) , "Iapetus". According to Josephus F1, the sons of Japheth inhabited the earth, beginning from the mountains Taurus and Amanus, and then went on in Asia unto the river Tanais, and in Europe unto Gadira. Seven of his sons are mentioned, and the first is Gomer; from whom, according to the same writer F2, came the Gomareans or Gomerites, in his time called by the Greeks Galatians, that is, the Gauls of Asia minor, who inhabited Phrygia; both Gomer and Phrygia signifying the same, as Bochart F3 observes, and the country looking as if it was torrified or burnt; and Pliny F4 makes mention of a town in Phrygia, called Cimmeris; and the Cimmerians and Cimbri are derived by some from this Gomer, whom Herodotus F5 makes mention of as in Asia and Scythia, and speaks of a country called Cimmerius, and of the Cimmerian Bosphorus; and these seem to be the Gauls before mentioned, under a different name; and it is to be observed, that the Welsh, who sprung from the Gauls, call themselves to this day Cumero, or Cymro and Cumeri. It is plain from ( Ezekiel 38:6 ) that Gomer and his people lay to the north of Judea, and the posterity of Japheth went first into the northern parts of Asia, and then spread themselves into Europe: six more of his sons follow, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras; the first of these, Magog, was the father of a northern people which bore his name, see ( Ezekiel 38:2 Ezekiel 38:15 ) and according to Josephus F6, who is generally followed, are the same that were called Scythians; from Madai came the Medes, often spoken of in Scripture, along with the Persians; so Josephus F7 says, from him came the nation of Madaeans, whom the Greeks call Medes; and very frequently in Scripture the Medes go by the name of Madai, their original ancestor; see ( Daniel 5:28 ) ( Daniel 6:8 Daniel 6:12 Daniel 6:15 ) but Mr. Mede F8 is of opinion, that Macedonia was the seat of this Madai, which was formerly called Aemathia; that is, as he gives the etymology of it, (aia) , "Madai", the country of Madai; but the former sense is generally received. Javan is by all agreed to be the father of the Grecians; hence Alexander, king of Grecia, is in ( Daniel 8:21 ) called king of Javan; and one part of Greece bore the name of Ionia; and the sea that washed it is called the Ionian sea. And his posterity are (iaonev) , "Iaonians", in Homer F9 and Aristophanes F11; and the scholiast of the latter says, that the Barbarians call all Greeks Iaonians. The next son of Japheth is Tubal or Thobel, as Josephus calls him, who says F12 the Thobelians in his time were called Iberians, a people in Asia, that dwelt near the Euxine sea; and in Albania was a place called Thabilaca, as may be seen in Ptolemy F13, and another called Thilbis, from whom might spring the Iberians in Europe, now called Spaniards; but Bochart F14 thinks that the Tibarenes are the descendants of Tubal, a people that dwelt between the Trapezuntii and Armenia the less; and he wonders that this never was thought of by any; but in that he is mistaken, for our countryman Mr. Broughton F15 makes the Tibarenes to spring from Tubal; and Epiphanius F16 many hundreds of years before him. Meshech, his next son, is mentioned along with Tubal in ( Ezekiel 27:13 ) ( 38:2 ) ( 39:1 ) from him came the Mosocheni, as Josephus {q}, who in his time were called Cappadocians, with whom there was a city then named Mazaca, since Caesarea F18; and these seem to be the same that Pliny F19 calls Moscheni, who inhabited the mountains Moschici, which were at the north east of Cappadocia. Some derive the Muscovites from them, which is not improbable: the last of Japheth's sons is Tiras or Thiras, which Jarchi interprets very wrongly by Paras, or Persia; much better the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, and so a Jewish chronologer F20, by Thracia; for the descendants of Thiras, as Josephus F21 observes, the Greeks call Thracians; and in Thrace was a river called Atyras F23, which has in it a trace of this man's name; and Odrysus, whom the Thracians worshipped, is the same with Tiras, which god sometimes goes by the name of Thuras; and is one of the names of Mars, the god of the Thracians.


F26 In Theogonia.
F1 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.
F2 Ib.
F3 Phaleg. l. 3. c. 8. col. 171, 172.
F4 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 30.
F5 Clio sive, l. 1. c. 16, 103. & Melpomene sive, l. 4. c. 11, 12, 13.
F6 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.)
F7 Ib.
F8 Dissert. 48.
F9 Iliad. 13. ver. 685.
F11 Acharneus. act. 1. scen. 3. p. 376.
F12 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.
F13 Geograph. l. 5. c. 12.
F14 Phaleg. l. 3. c. 12. col. 180.
F15 See his Works, p. 2, 58.
F16 Ancorat. p. 546.
F17 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.)
F18 Vid. Ammian. Marcellin. l. 20. p. 170. Ed. Vales.
F19 Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 9, 10.
F20 Sepher Juchasin, fol. 145. 1. Vid. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 10. 1.
F21 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.)
F23 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 11.

Genesis 10:2 In-Context

1 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.
3 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.
4 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites.
5 (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)

Cross References 5

  • 1. Ezekiel 38:6
  • 2. Ezekiel 38:2; Ezekiel 39:6; Revelation 20:8
  • 3. Ezekiel 27:19
  • 4. Isaiah 66:19; Ezekiel 27:13; Ezekiel 32:26
  • 5. Ezekiel 39:1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. "Sons" may mean "descendants" or "successors" or "nations" ; also in verses 3, 4, 6, 7, 20-23, 29 and 31.
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