1 Chronicles 1:5
The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
THE SONS OF JAPHETH THE FAIR—(1Chronicles 1:5-7).

The Oriental theory of political and even social communities refers each to a common ancestor. The Israelites are known as “sons of Israel,” the Ammonites as “sons of Ammon” (Authorised version, “children”). In the same way, an Arab tribe is called. the “Bêni Hassan” (sons of Hassan), and Assurbanipal styles his subjects “sons of Asshur.” Sometimes a people is called “sons” of the land or city they inhabit; e.g., the Babylonians are styled “sons of Babel.” The “sons of Japheth” are probably the fair Caucasian race.

(5) Gomer.—The Cimmerians of the Greek writers; called Gi-mir-ra-a-a in Assyrian inscriptions. Their country was Cappadocia, called Gamir by the ancient Armenians. The Arabic version has “Turkey.”

Magog.Ezekiel 38:2-3; Ezekiel 38:6 speaks of Gog, king of Magog, and suzerain of Tubal, Meshech, Gomer and the house of Togarmah. With the name Gog compare Gâgu, king of Salii, mentioned in connection with Assurbanipal’s campaign against the Mannâ-a. Magog appears to be a general name for the peoples north of Assyria, i.e., in Armenia.

Madai.—The Medes. 2Kings 17:6; Isaiah 13:17. Assyr., Ma-da-a-a.

Javan.—The Assyrian Yavnan, i.e., Cyprus, mentioned in the Behistun Inscription, as here, along with Media, Armenia, and Cappadocia. (Comp. Joel 3:6; Isaiah 66:19.)

Tubal and Meshech, the Tibareni and Moschi of classical writers; and the Muski and Tabali of Assyrian records.

Tiras has been compared with the Tyras or Dniester. Perhaps we may compare Tros and the Trojans.

(6) Ashchenaz.Jeremiah 51:27, near or in Armenia. Apparently the Asguzâa mentioned by Esarhaddon in the account of his campaign against the Cimmerians and Cilicians. The Arabic has Slavonia.

Riphath.—The reading of Genesis 10:3, some Heb. MSS., the LXX., and Vulg. The common Hebrew text (Van der Hooght’s) wrongly reads Diphath (Syriac, Diphar). Togarmah seems to be the Tulgarimmē on the border of Tabali, which Sennacherib reduced in his expedition against Cilicia (Smith, Sennach., p. 86).

(7) Elishah.—Usually identified with Hellas, or the Hellenes. Perhaps, however, Carthage is meant: comp. the name Elissa, as a by-name of Dido, Virg. Æn. iv. 335.

Tarshish.—Usually identified with the Phœnician colony of Tartessus, in Spain. (Comp. Psalm 72:10.)

Dodanim.—So many Heb. MSS., the Syriac, Vulg., and Genesis 10:3. The LXX. has “Rhodians,” which implies a reading, Rodanim, which we find in the common Hebrew text. Dodanim might be the Dardauians of the Troad, or the Dodoneans (Dodona, the seat of an ancient oracle, the fame of which might have reached Phœnician ears).

Thus far the list appears to deal with Asia Minor and adjacent lands; and Japheth, whose name is curiously like the Greek Iäpetus, seems to include the western races so far as known to the Hebrews.

1 Chronicles 1:5. The sons of Japheth — The historian, repeating the account of the replenishing the earth by the sons of Noah, begins with those that were strangers to the church, the sons of Japheth, who peopled Europe, of whom he says little, as the Jews had hitherto little or no dealings with them. He proceeds to those that had many of them been enemies to the church, and thence hastens to the line of Abraham, breaking off abruptly from all the other families of the sons of Noah, but that of Arphaxad, from whom Christ was to come. The great promise of the Messiah was transmitted from Adam to Seth, from him to Shem, from him to Eber, and so to the Jewish nation, who were intrusted above all nations with that sacred treasure, till the promise was performed, and the Messiah was come.1:1-27 This chapter, and many that follow, repeat the genealogies, or lists of fathers and children in the Bible history, and put them together, with many added. When compared with other places, there are some differences found; yet we must not therefore stumble at the word, but bless God that the things necessary to salvation are plain enough. The original of the Jewish nation is here traced from the first man that God created, and is thereby distinguished from the obscure, fabulous, and absurd origins assigned to other nations. But the nations now are all so mingled with one another, that no one nation, nor the greatest part of any, is descended entirely from any of one nation, nor the greatest part of any, is descended entirely from any of these fountains. Only this we are sure of, that God has created of one blood all nations of men; they are all descended from one Adam, one Noah. Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Mal 2:10.Compare the margin references and notes. 4-23. Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth—The three sons of this patriarch are enumerated, partly because they were the founders of the new world, and partly because the fulfilment of Noah's prophecy (Ge 9:25-27) could not otherwise appear to have been verified. No text from Poole on this verse. The sons of Japheth, Gomer,.... Here begins the genealogy of the sons of Noah after the flood; of the sons of Japheth the elder, in this and the two following verses; next of the sons of Ham, the younger brother, 1 Chronicles 1:8, then of Shem, whose posterity are mentioned last, because from him, in the line of Heber, sprang Abraham, the ancestor of the Jewish nation, of whom the Messiah was to come, for whose sake this genealogy is given, 1 Chronicles 1:17. The whole is the same with the account in The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5–7 (= Genesis 10:2-4). The Sons of Japheth

5. The sons of Japheth] The writer begins with the Northern “zone.”

Gomer] to he identified with the Gimirrai of the Assyrian monuments who in the seventh century b.c. inhabited the district afterwards called Cappadocia. Probably they are also to be identified with the Κιμμέριοι of the Greeks, who migrated from South Russia into Asia Minor under the pressure of the Scythians (Hdt. I. 103; IV. 11, 12; cp. Ezekiel 38:6, R.V.; Sayce, Higher Criticism and the Monuments, p. 124).

Magog] In Ezekiel 38 judgement is denounced on “Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal” (1 Chronicles 1:2, R.V.) who is represented as accompanied in his migration by the “hordes” of Gomer and Togarmah (1 Chronicles 1:6, R.V.), “all of them riding upon horses” (1 Chronicles 1:15). Magog represents therefore one of several tribes of Northern nomads (Scythians) known to Israel; see note below on Tubal and Meshech.

Madai] first mentioned in an inscription of the Assyrian king Rammannirar (Rimmon-nirari III.), who reigned b.c. 812–783. They are probably the Medes who lived in small communities (κατὰ κώμας, Hdt. I. 96) without a central government in Azerbaijan and Irak Ajemi, i.e. in the N.W. provinces of modern Persia.

Javan] the Ionians (Ἰάϝʹονες) who were already settled on the West coast of Asia Minor at the dawn of Greek history. Being a seafaring nation and having a slave-trade with Tyre (Ezekiel 27:13; Joel 3 [Hebrews 4:6 “Grecians”]), they became known to Israel at an early date. In the Book of Daniel the title “king of Javan” (1 Chronicles 8:21) is used of Alexander the Great; cp. “kingdom of Javan” (1 Chronicles 11:2) of the Macedonian Empire.

Tubal and Meshech] mentioned together Ezekiel 27:13; Ezekiel 32:26; Ezekiel 38:2-3; Ezekiel 39:1; and to be identified with the “Tabal” and “Muski” of the monuments, who in the times of the later Assyrian Empire lived as neighbours in the country N.E. of Cilicia; see Kiepert’s map in Schrader’s Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, vol. II. This Meshech is to be distinguished from the Meshech son of Shem mentioned in 1 Chronicles 1:17. At a later period the Τιβαρηνοί (= Tubal) lived in Pontus, and the Μόσχοι (= Meshech) further E. towards the Caspian. They were in the nineteenth nome of the Persian Empire (Hdt. iii. 94).

Tiras] No probable identification has been proposed for this name.

5–23. The “Genealogy” of the Nations

The table which follows is taken from Genesis 10:2-29. In the A.V. several variations between Gen. and Chron. occur in the spelling of proper names. In the R.V. the spelling has been made uniform.

The table is geographical rather than ethnological, i.e. neighbouring nations are regarded as having the same descent. The world, as known to the writer, is divided into three zones, of which the Northern is assigned to the Sons of Japheth (5–7), the Southern to the Sons of Ham (8–16), and the Central to the Sons of Shem (17–23). Had the arrangement been according to descent the Semitic Zidonians and the (probably Mongoloid) Hittites would not have been equally described as the offspring of Ham (cp. Sayce, Higher Criticism and the Monuments, p. 122).

It must be noticed, moreover, that the passage contains a general table with two appendices. The General Table is derived from the so-called “Priestly” narrative (PC) of the Hexateuch, while the appendices have been inserted by a Redactor from an earlier narrative, the “Prophetical” (J) (cp. Driver, Introduction, p. 13). Thus we get the following scheme:—

1 Chronicles 1:5-9.

  PC

  (General Table of the descendants of Japheth and Ham).

10–16.

  J

  (Appendix to the descendants of Ham).

17.

  PC

  (General Table of the descendants of Shem).

18–23.

  J

  (Appendix to the descendants of Shem).

It must be further noted that though the Priestly source is assigned in its main stock by critics to “the exilic or early post-exilic period,” some elements in it belong to pre-exilic times. This table of the nations in particular agrees with the state of the world as referred to by Ezekiel, and is probably to be assigned to a date anterior to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. (Sayce in Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, i. 347, suggests that the table is as early as the period of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Egyptian dynasties, when Palestine was under Egyptian suzerainty.)Verses 5-7. - B. LIST OF SONS AND GRANDSONS OF JAPHETH. After the mention of Noah's three sons, in the order of their age (though some on slender ground think Ham the youngest), this order, as in Genesis 10:2, is reversed; and the compiler, beginning with Japheth, the youngest, apparently with the view of disposing of what his purpose may not so particularly require, gives the names of seven sons and seven grandsons, viz. three through Gomar, the eldest son, and four through Javan, the fourth son. These fourteen names are identical in the Authorized Version with the list of Genesis 10:2-4. The Septuagint, though not identical in the spelling of the four names Madai, Tiras, Tarshish, and Kittim, shows no material differences in the two places. In the Hebrew, according to the text and edition consulted, very slight variations are found in the orthography of Tubal (וְתֻבָּל here for וְתֻבָל) and Tarshish (וְתַרְשִׁישָׁח here for וְתַרְשִׁישׁ)and in the adoption of Riphath and Dodanim in this book for Diphath and Rodanim. The names Kittim and Dodanim look less like names of individuals than of such family, tribe, or nation as descended from the individual. At the close of this short enumeration, we have in Genesis the statement, "By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations." It is evident here also that, whether the compiler borrowed from the Book of Genesis itself, or from some common source open to both, his objects are not exactly the same. Time and the present position and condition of that part of his people for which he was writing governed him, and dictated the difference. Accordingly we do not pause here on the colonizings and the fresh seats and habitations of the sons and grandsons of Japheth. The subject, one of extreme interest, and the threads of it perhaps not so hopelessly lost as is sometimes thought, belongs to the place in Genesis from which the above verse is cited. It may, however, be written here that the rather verbose disquisitions of Joseph Mede are neither altogether unin-retorting nor in some parts of them unlikely. They form Discourses 47, 48, bk. 1. (edit. 'The Works of Joseph Mode.' London, 1664). "And he (Jehoiachin) changed his prison garments," i.e., took them off and put other regal clothing on (cf. Genesis 41:42). "And ate continually before him all his life," i.e., ate at the king's table (cf. 2 Samuel 9:7). Moreover a daily ration of food was supplied to him by the king for the maintenance of his retainers, who formed his little court. The חיּיו כּל־ימי of 2 Kings 25:30, upon which Thenius throws suspicion without any reason, refers to Jehoiachin like that in 2 Kings 25:29; for the historian intended to show how Jehoiachin had fared from the day of his elevation to the end of his life. At the same time, we cannot infer from this with any certainty that Jehoiachin died before Evil-merodach; for the favour shown to him might be continued by Evil-merodach's successor. We cannot make any safe conjecture as to the motives which induced Evil-merodach to pardon Jehoiachin and confer this distinction upon him. The higher ground of this joyful termination of his imprisonment lay in the gracious decree of God, that the seed of David, though severely chastised for its apostasy from the Lord, should not be utterly rejected (2 Samuel 7:14-15). At the same time, this event was also intended as a comforting sign to the whole of the captive people, that the Lord would one day put an end to their banishment, if they would acknowledge that it was a well-merited punishment for this sins that they had been driven away from before His face, and would turn again to the Lord their God with all their heart.
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