Genesis 10:2
The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(2) The sons of Japheth.—Of these, seven main divisions are enumerated, some of which are subsequently sub-divided; they are—

1. Gomer, whose name reappears in the Cimmerians. Their original settlement was between Magog and Madai, that is, between the Scythians and the Medes. After remaining some time on the Caspian and Black Seas, on which latter they have left their name in the Crimea, a powerful branch of them struck across the centre of Russia, and, skirting the Baltic, became the Cimbri of Denmark (whence the name of the Chersonesus Cimbrica, given to Jutland), the Cymry of Wales, &c. Generally they are the race to which the " name is given of Celts.

2. Magog. The Scythians, who once possessed the country north and south of the Caucasus. The Russians are their modern representatives, being descended from the Sarmatians, a Scythic race, with a small admixture of Median blood.

3. Madai. The Medes, who dwelt to the south and south-west of the Caspian. Mada, in the Accadian language, means land, and it was in the Median territory that Kharsak-Kurra, “the mountain of the East,” was situated, on which the Accadians believed the ark to have rested, whence possibly Media took its name, being “the land” above all others (Chald. Gen., p. 196).

4. Javan, that is, Ionia, the land of the Greeks.

5. Tubal. The Tibareni, on the south-east of the Black Sea.

6. Meshech. The Moschi, a people of Colchis and Armenia.

7. Tiras. According to Josephus and the Targum, the Thracians. Other races have been suggested, but this is probably right; and as the Getae, the ancestors of the Goths, were Thracians, this would make the Scandinavian race the modern representatives of Tiras.

In this enumeration the race of Japheth is described as occupying Asia Minor, Armenia, the countries to the west as far as the Caspian Sea, and thence northward to the shores of the Black Sea. Subsequently it spread along the northern shores of the Mediterranean and. over all Europe. But though unnoticed by the writer its extension was equally remarkable towards the east. Parthia, Bactria, the Punjab, India, are equally Japhethite with Germany, Greece, and Rome; and in Sanscrit literature the Aryan first showed that genius, which, omitting the greatest of all books, the Semitic Bible, has made this race the foremost writers in the world.

Genesis 10:2. Moses begins with Japheth’s family, either because he was the eldest, or because it lay most remote from Israel, and had least concern with them at the time when he wrote; and therefore he mentions that race very briefly; hastening to give account of the posterity of Ham, who were Israel’s enemies, and of Shem, who were Israel’s ancestors: for it is the church of which the Scripture is designed to be the history: and of the nations of the world, only as they were some way or other interested in the affairs of Israel.

10:1-7 This chapter shows concerning the three sons of Noah, that of them was the whole earth overspread. No nation but that of the Jews can be sure from which of these seventy it has come. The lists of names of fathers and sons were preserved of the Jews alone, for the sake of the Messiah. Many learned men, however, have, with some probability, shown which of the nations of the earth descended from each of the sons of Noah To the posterity of Japheth were allotted the isles of the gentiles; probably, the island of Britain among the rest. All places beyond the sea from Judea are called isles, Jer 25:22. That promise, Isa 42:4, The isles shall wait for his law, speaks of the conversion of the gentiles to the faith of Christ. - Section VIII - The Nations

- Japheth

2. גמר gomer, "Gomer, completion; related: complete;" Κιμμέριοι Kimmerioi. מגוג māgôg, "Magog, Caucasian, Skyth." מדי māday, "Madai, middle: Mede." יון yāvān, "Javan"; Ἰάων Iaōn; "Sanskrit, Javana; Old Persian, Juna." תבל tubāl, "Tubal"; Τιβαρηνοὶ Tibareenoi. משׁך meshek, "Meshek, drawing possession, valor"; Μόσχοι Moschoi, תירס tı̂yrās, "Tiras;" Θρᾷξ Thrax.

3. אשׁכנו 'ashkenaz, "Ashkenaz," Ἀσκάνιος Askanios. ריפת rı̂ypat, "Riphath," ὄρη Ῥίπαια oree Ripaia, תגרמה togarmâh "Togarmah, Thorgom, ancestor of the Armenians."

4. אלישׁה 'elı̂yshâh, "Elishah;" Ἧλις Eelis, Ἑλλὰς Hellas, Αἰολεῖς Aioleis. תדשׁישׁ tarshı̂ysh, "Tarshish, breaking, fastness: Tartessus, Tarsus, Tyrseni." כתים kı̂tı̂ym, "Kittim, smiters; Citienses;" Κᾶρες Kares; דדנים dodānı̂ym, "Dodanim, Dodona, Dardani."

5. אי 'ı̂y, "meadow, land reached by water, island; related: be marked off or bounded (by a water line)." גוי gôy, "nation; related: be born;" γεγάασι gegaasi.

The fifth document relates to the generations of the sons of Noah. It presents first a genealogy of the nations, and then an account of the distribution of mankind into nations, and their dispersion over the earth. This is the last section which treats historically of the whole human race. Only in incidental, didactic, or prophetic passages do we again meet with mankind as a whole in the Old Testament.

The present chapter signalizes a new step in the development of the human race. They pass from the one family to the seventy nations. This great process covers the space of time from Noah to Abraham. During this period the race was rapidly increasing under the covenant made with Noah. From Shem to Abraham were ten generations inclusive; and, therefore, if we suppose the same rate of increase after as we have supposed before, there would be about fifteen million inhabitants when Abraham was thirty years of age. If, however, we take eight as the average of a family, and suppose eleven generations after Shem at the one hundredth year of Abraham's life, we have about thirty million people on the earth. The average of the three sons of Noah is higher than this; for they had sixteen sons, and we may suppose as many daughters, making in all thirty-two, and, therefore, giving ten children to each household. The present chapter does not touch on the religious aspect of human affairs: it merely presents a table of the primary nations, from which all subsequent nationalities have been derived.

Genesis 10:1-2

The sons of Japheth. - Japheth is placed first, because he was, most probably, the oldest brother Genesis 9:24; Genesis 10:21, and his descendants were the most numerous and most widely spread from the birthplace of mankind. The general description of their territory is "the isles of the nations." These were evidently maritime countries, or such as were reached by sea. These coastlands were pre-eminently, but not exclusively, the countries bordering on the north side of the Mediterranean and its connected waters. They are said to belong to the nations, because the national form of association was more early and fully developed among them than among the other branches of the race. There is, probably, a relic of Japheth in the, Ιαπετὸς Iapetos, Japetus of the Greeks, said to be the son of Uranus (heaven), and Gaea (earth), and father of Prometheus, and thus in some way connected with the origin or preservation of the human race.

Fourteen of the primitive nations spring from Japheth. Seven of these are of immediate descent.

(1) Gomer is mentioned again, in Ezekiel EZechariah 38:6, as the ally of Gog, by which the known existence of the nation at that period is indicated. Traces of this name are perhaps found in the Κιμμέριοι Kimmerioi, (Homer, Odyssey Ezekiel 11:14; Herodotus Ezekiel 1:15; Ezekiel 4:12), who lay in the dark north, in the Krimea, the Kimbri who dwelt in north Germany, the Kymry, Cambri, and Cumbri who occupied Britain. These all belong to the race now called Keltic, the first wave of population that reached the Atlantic. Thus, the Γομαρεῖς Gomareis, of Josephus (Ant. 1:6.1) may even be identified with the Galatae. This nation seems to have lain to the north of the Euxine, and to have spread out along the southern coasts of the Baltic into France, Spain, and the British Isles.

(2) Magog is mentioned, by Ezekiel EZechariah 38:6, as the people of which Gog was the prince. It is introduced in the Apocalypse Rev 20:8, as a designation of the remote nations who had penetrated to the ends or corners of the earth. This indicates a continually progressing people, occupying the north of Europe and Asia, and crossing, it may be, over into America. They seem to have been settled north of the Caspian, and to have wandered north and east from that point. They are accordingly identified by Josephus (Ant. 1:6.1) with the Skyths, and include the Mongols among other Skythic tribes.

(3) Madai has given name to the Medes, who occupied the southern shore of the Caspian. From this region they penetrated southward to Hindostan.



Ge 10:1-32. Genealogies.

1. sons of Noah—The historian has not arranged this catalogue according to seniority of birth; for the account begins with the descendants of Japheth, and the line of Ham is given before that of Shem though he is expressly said to be the youngest or younger son of Noah; and Shem was the elder brother of Japheth (Ge 10:21), the true rendering of that passage.

generations, &c.—the narrative of the settlement of nations existing in the time of Moses, perhaps only the principal ones; for though the list comprises the sons of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, all their descendants are not enumerated. Those descendants, with one or two exceptions, are described by names indicative of tribes and nations and ending in the Hebrew im, or the English "-ite."

Japheth’s portion was at first Asia the Less, and afterwards by degrees all Europe, and the northern parts of Asia. This is he so much celebrated among the Greeks by the name of Japetus.

Gomer’s posterity are reckoned among the northern people, Ezekiel 38:6, and were seated in the northern parts of the Lesser Asia, and afterwards about Thracia; and from him were called Gomari, and by an easy change Cimbri, or Cimmerii.

Magog was the father of the Scythians, as may be gathered from Ezekiel 38:2-3, Ezekiel 38:15, Ezekiel 39:3, Ezekiel 39:6.

The posterity of

Madai, wheresoever they were first placed, in Macedonia or elsewhere, afterward were fixed in Media, and were called Medes, and in the Hebrew by the name of their father Madai, as appears from 2 Kings 17:6 Isaiah 13:17 Jeremiah 25:25, Jeremiah 51:11, Daniel 5:28, Daniel 6:8.


Javan came the Grecians, who are called by themselves Iaones, or Iones, and in the Hebrew Jevanim, and their country Greece, Javan. See Isaiah 66:19 Ezekiel 27:13, Ezekiel 27:19, Daniel 8:21, Daniel 10:20.


Tubal came the Iberi, anciently called Thobeli, a people of Asia, near the Euxine Sea. See Ezekiel 27:3, Ezekiel 32:26, Ezekiel 38:2-3.

Meshech was father of the Moschi, i.e. the Muscovites, or rather, as others think, the Cappadocians, who were anciently called Meschini, and Moschi, and their chief city Maraca.


Tiras was father of the Thracians; amongst whom is a river and haven called Athyras, and who worshipped their god Mars under the name of Thuras.

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 (z) often calls "Iapetionides", and him "Iapetus". According to Josephus (a), 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 (b), 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 (c) observes, and the country looking as if it was torrified or burnt; and Pliny (d) makes mention of a town in Phrygia, called Cimmeris; and the Cimmerians and Cimbri are derived by some from this Gomer, whom Herodotus (e) 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 and according to Josephus (f), 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 (g) 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 but Mr. Mede (h) 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, "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 "Iaonians", in Homer (i) and Aristophanes (k); 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 (l) 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 (m), and another called Thilbis, from whom might spring the Iberians in Europe, now called Spaniards; but Bochart (n) 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 (o) makes the Tibarenes to spring from Tubal; and Epiphanius (p) many hundreds of years before him. Meshech, his next son, is mentioned along with Tubal in Ezekiel 27:13 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 (r); and these seem to be the same that Pliny (s) 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 (t), by Thracia; for the descendants of Thiras, as Josephus (u) observes, the Greeks call Thracians; and in Thrace was a river called Atyras (w), 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.

(z) In Theogonia. (a) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.((b) Ib. (c) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 8. col. 171, 172. (d) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 30. (e) Clio sive, l. 1. c. 16, 103. & Melpomene sive, l. 4. c. 11, 12, 13. (f) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.) (g) Ib. (h) Dissert. 48. (i) Iliad. 13. ver. 685. (k) Acharneus. Acts 1. scen. 3. p. 376. (l) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.((m) Geograph. l. 5. c. 12. (n) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 12. col. 180. (o) See his Works, p. 2, 58. (p) Ancorat. p. 546. (q) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.) (r) Vid. Ammian. Marcellin. l. 20. p. 170. Ed. Vales. (s) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 9, 10. (t) Sepher Juchasin, fol. 145. 1. Vid. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 10. 1.((u) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.) (w) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 11.

The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and {b} Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.

(b) Of Madai and Javan came the Medes and Greeks.

2. The sons of Japheth] These are names of peoples who for the most part seem to have dwelt in remote northern and western regions in Asia Minor.

Gomer] Mentioned also in Ezekiel 38:6. Probably the people dwelling in the region of Pontus in Asia Minor, and called by the Greeks Cimmerians (Κιμμέριοι). Cf. 1 Chronicles 1:5-6.

Magog] appears as the name of a country in Ezekiel 38:2, and of a northern people in Ezekiel 39:6, generally identified with the Scythians. Sayce conjectures that Magog is for “Mat-Gog” = “land of Gog.” The allusions to Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8 are based upon the prophetic passages in Ezekiel 38, 39.

Madai] Almost certainly “the land of the Medes.” The people of Media are referred to in the Assyrian inscriptions as “Madai” in the 9th century b.c. In the history of Israel they are first mentioned in 2 Kings 17:6. Cf. Isaiah 13:17; Isaiah 21:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5.

Javan] This is the Hebrew name for “the Greeks.” The Ionians were the Greeks of Asia Minor and of the islands of the Ægean Sea, who were first known to the peoples of Western Asia. They were called in Assyrian Javanu. For other passages in which the Greeks are mentioned in the O.T., cf. Isaiah 66:19; Ezekiel 27:13; Ezekiel 27:19; Daniel 8:21; Daniel 10:20; Joel 3:6; Zechariah 9:13.

Tubal … Meshech] These two names are mentioned, along with Javan, in Ezekiel 27:13; Ezekiel 39:1. They have been identified with peoples in N.E. Asia Minor, Tibarenians and Moschians.

In Isaiah 66:19 Tubal is classed with Javan and “the isles afar off.” In Psalm 120:5, “Meshech” is used as the name of a barbarous and remote people, “Woe is me that I sojourn in Meshech.”

Tiras] Identified by Josephus (Ant. i. 6) with the Thracians, but now more frequently with a race of sea pirates of the Ægean Sea called Τυρσηνοί. Another conjecture is Tarsus; another, Tarshish; cf. 1 Chronicles 1:6.

Verse 2. - The sons of Japheth are first mentioned not because Japheth was the eldest of the three brothers, although that was true, but because of the greater distance of the Japhetic tribes from the theocratic center, the Hamites having always been much more nearly situated to and closely connected with the Shemites than they. The immediate descendants of Japheth, whose name, Ἰάπετος, occurs again in the mythology of a Japhetic race, were fourteen m number, seven sons and seven grandsons, each of which became the progenitor of one of the primitive nations. Gomer. A people inhabiting "the sides of the north" (Ezekiel 38:6); the Galatae of the Greeks (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 1:06); the Chomarii, a nation in Bactriana on the Oxus (Shulthess, Kalisch); but more generally the Cimmerians of Homer ('Odyss.,' 11:13-19), whose abodes were the shores of the Caspian and Euxine, whence they seem to have spread themselves over Europe as far west as the Atlantic, leaving traces of their presence in the Cimhri of North Germany and the Cymri in Wales (Keil, Lange, Murphy, Wordsworth, 'Speaker's Commentary ). And Magog. A fierce and warlike people presided over by Gog (an appellative name, like the titles Pharaoh and Caesar, and corresponding with the Turkish Chak, the Tartarian Kak, and the Mongolian Gog: Kalisch), whose complete destruction was predicted by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 38, 39.); generally understood to be the Scythians, whose territory lay upon the borders of the sea of Asoph, and in the Caucasus. In the Apocalypse (Revelation 20:8-10) Gog and Magog appear as two distinct nations combined against the Church of God. And Madai. The inhabitants of Media (Mada in the cuneiform inscriptions), so called because believed to be situated περὶ μεσην τὴν Ασίαν (Polyb. 5:44) on the south-west shore of the Caspian And Javan. Identical with Ἰάων (Greek), Javana (Sanscrit), Juna (Old Persian), Jounan (Rosetta Stone); allowed to be the father of the Greeks, who in Scripture are styled Javan (vide Isaiah 66:19; Ezekiel 27:13; Daniel 8:21; Daniel 10:20; Joel 3:6). And Tubal, and Meshech. Generally associated in Scripture as tributaries of Magog (Ezekiel 38:2, 3; Ezekiel 39:1); recognized as the Iberians and Moschi in the north of Armenia, between the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates, and the Black Sea (Josephus, Knobel, Lange, Kalisch). And Tiras. The ancestor of the Thraciaus (Josephus), of the Tyrrheni, a branch of the Pelasgians (Tuch), of the Asiatic tribes round the Taurus (Kalisch), in support of which last is a circumstance mentioned by Rawlinson, that on the old Egyptian monuments Mashuash and Tuirash, and upon the Assyrian Tubal and Misek, stand together as here. Tiras occurs nowhere else in Scripture. Genesis 10:2Descendants of Japhet. - In Genesis 10:1 the names of the three sons are introduced according to their relative ages, to give completeness and finish to the Tholedoth; but in the genealogy itself Japhet is mentioned first and Shem last, according to the plan of the book of Genesis as already explained in the introduction. In Genesis 10:2 seven sons of Japhet are given. The names, indeed, afterwards occur as those of tribes; but here undoubtedly they are intended to denote the tribe-fathers, and may without hesitation be so regarded. For even if in later times many nations received their names from the lands of which they took possession, this cannot be regarded as a universal rule, since unquestionably the natural rule in the derivation of the names would be for the tribe to be called after its ancestor, and for the countries to receive their names from their earliest inhabitants. Gomer is most probably the tribe of the Cimmerians, who dwelt, according to Herodotus, on the Maeotis, in the Taurian Chersonesus, and from whom are descended the Cumri or Cymry in Wales and Brittany, whose relation to the Germanic Cimbri is still in obscurity. Magog is connected by Josephus with the Scythians on the Sea of Asof and in the Caucasus; but Kiepert associates the name with Macija or Maka, and applies it to Scythian nomad tribes which forced themselves in between the Arian or Arianized Medes, Kurds, and Armenians. Madai are the Medes, called Mada on the arrow-headed inscriptions. Javan corresponds to the Greek Ἰάων, from whom the Ionians (Ἰάονος) are derived, the parent tribe of the Greeks (in Sanskrit Javana, old Persian Junâ). Tubal and Meshech are undoubtedly the Tibareni and Moschi, the former of whom are placed by Herodotus upon the east of the Thermodon, the latter between the sources of the Phasis and Cyrus. Tiras: according to Josephus, the Thracians, whom Herodotus calls the most numerous tribe next to the Indian. As they are here placed by the side of Meshech, so we also find on the old Egyptian monuments Mashuash and Tuirash, and upon the Assyrian Tubal and Misek (Rawlinson).
Genesis 10:2 Interlinear
Genesis 10:2 Parallel Texts

Genesis 10:2 NIV
Genesis 10:2 NLT
Genesis 10:2 ESV
Genesis 10:2 NASB
Genesis 10:2 KJV

Genesis 10:2 Bible Apps
Genesis 10:2 Parallel
Genesis 10:2 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 10:2 Chinese Bible
Genesis 10:2 French Bible
Genesis 10:2 German Bible

Bible Hub

Genesis 10:1
Top of Page
Top of Page