Genesis 10:4
And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
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(4) Javan has four main divisions:—

1. Elishah, a maritime people of Greece. Traces of the name occur in Aeolis and in Elis, a district of the Peloponessus. Some boldly identify with Hellas. The isles of Elishah are mentioned in Ezekiel 27:7.

2. Tarshish. At so early a period this could scarcely be Tartessus, but is more probably the Tyrseni, or Tyrrheni, a race once powerful in Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, and finally in Spain. Probably Tartessus, at the mouth of the Guadalquiver, in Spain, was founded by them, and took from them its name. At this time they; were apparently a small tribe of the Javanites; but while Elishah followed the sea-coast and colonised Greece, Tarshish took a course so far inland to the north of the Danube that it did not reach the sea until it had come to the northern districts of Italy.

3. Kittim. A plural, like Madai. The Kittim were a maritime race, who colonised Cyprus, the chief city of which was Kitium, and probably other islands and coast-districts of the Mediterranean. There was a Kitium also in Macedonia; and Alexander is called King of the Kittim in 1 Maccabees 1:1.

4. Dodanim. Another plural. The right reading is probably Rodanim, as in many MSS. in 1Chronicles 1:7 and in the LXX., and the Samaritan here. R and D are so constantly interchanged in proper names. owing to the similarity of their shape, that no dependence can be placed upon the reading. The Rodanim would be the Rhodians.

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.Javan has four sons, who are the heads of nations.

(11) Elishah is noted by Ezekiel EZechariah 27:7 as a nation whose maritime country produced purple, which agrees with the coast of Laconia or the Corinthian Gulf. The name has been variously sought in Elis, Hellas, and Aeolis. The last is due to Josephus. It is possible that Elea or Velia, in the south of Italy, may contain some reference to the name.

(12) Tarshish is conjectured by Josephus to be the people of Cilicia; which, he affirms, was anciently called Tharsus, and the capital of which was Tarsus. But whether this be the primitive seat of Tarshish or not, it is almost certain that Spain retains the name, if not in Tarraco, at least in Tartessus.

(13) Kittim is discovered, by Josephus, in Cyprus, where we meet with the town of Citium Κίτιον Kition. He adds, however, that all the islands and the greater part of the seacoasts are called Χεδίμ Chedim by the Hebrews. We may therefore presume that the Kittim spread into northern Greece, where we have a Κίτιον Kition in Macedonia, and ultimately into Italy, which is designated as "the isles of Kittim" Numbers 24:24; Isaiah 23:1; Jeremiah 2:10; Ezekiel 27:6; Daniel 11:30.

(14) Dodanim leaves a trace, perhaps, in Dodona, an ancient site of the Hellenes in Epirus, and perhaps in Dardania, a district of Illyricum.


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."

Elishah, the father of the Grecians properly so called, who have preserved his name and remembrance in the cities Elis and Elissus, in a tract of ground called Elias, and in the Elysian fields. And from these came the Æolians, a people of the Lesser Asia, where many of the Grecian colonies were seated.

Tarshish was father of the Cilicians, from whom their chief city Tarsus, in Hebrew Tarshish, took its name; see Ezekiel 27:12 Jonah 1:3 Acts 22:3; and from whom the whole Mediterranean Sea is called Tarshish, because the Cilicians were in a great degree masters of that sea.

Kittim, or, Chittim, the father of the Macedonians, and Italians too, as may be gathered from hence, because both their countries are called by the name of Chittim; Macedonia, /APC 1Ma 1:1 8:5, and Italy, Numbers 24:24 Daniel 11:30. See also Isaiah 23:1 Jeremiah 2:10. Besides that there are other evidences in profane writers that the Italians came from the Grecians.

Dodanim is called also Rodanim, 1 Chronicles 1:7. See Riphath in. { Genesis 10:3} His posterity is uncertain. Most probably he was seated near his brethren in some part of Greece. And the Greeks seem to have worshipped him under the name of Jupiter Dodonaeus, whose famous oracle was in the city Dodona.

And the sons of Javan,.... Another son of Japheth; four sons of Javan are mentioned, which gave names to countries, and are as follow:

Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim; the first of these, Elishah, gave name to the Elysaeans, now called Aeoles, as Josephus (l) says; hence the country Aeolia, and the Aeolic dialect, all from this name; and there are many traces of it in the several parts of Greece. Hellas, a large country in it, has its name from him; so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem interpret Elishah by Allas. Elis in Peloponnesus, Eleusis in Attica, the river Elissus, or Ilissus, and the Elysian fields, are so called from him. Tarshish, second son of Javan, gave name to Tarsus, by which Cilicia was formerly called, as Josephus says (m), of which the city named Tarsus was the metropolis, the birth place of the Apostle Paul, Acts 22:3. Hence the Mediterranean sea is called Tarshish, because the Cicilians were masters of it; and Tartessus in Spain might be a colony from them, as Broughton observes; and so Eusebius says, from the Tarsinns are the Iberians, or Spaniards; and which Bochart (n) approves of, and confirms by various evidences; and Hillerus, (o) makes Tarshish to be the author of the Celtae, that is, of the Spanish, French, and German nations. The third son of Javan is Kittim, whom Josephus (p) places in the island of Cyprus, a city there being called Citium, from whence was Zeno the Citian: but rather the people that sprung from him are those whom Homer (q) calls Cetii; and are placed by Strabo (r) to the west of Cilicia, in the western parts of which are two provinces, mentioned by Ptolemy (s), the one called Cetis, the other Citis: likewise this Kittim seems to be the father both of the Macedonians and the Latines; for Alexander the great is said to come from Cittim, and Perseus king of Macedon is called king of Cittim,"And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece,'' (1 Maccabees 1:1)"Beside this, how they had discomfited in battle Philip, and Perseus, king of the Citims, with others that lifted up themselves against them, and had overcome them:'' (1 Maccabees 8:5)and Macedonia is sometimes called Macetia, as it is in Gellius (t), which has something of the name of Cittim or Cetim in it; and also the Latines or Romans seem to spring from hence, who may be thought to be meant by Cittim in Numbers 24:24 Daniel 11:30 and Eusebius says the Citians are a people from whom came the Sabines, who also are Romans; and in Latium was a city called Cetia, as says Halicarnassensis (u); and Bochart (w) has shown, that Latium and Cethem signify the same, and both have their names from words that signify to hide; "latium a latendo", and "celhem", from "to hide", see Jeremiah 2:22 in which sense the word is frequently used in the Arabic language; and Cittim in the Jerusalem Targum is here called Italy. The last son of Javan mentioned is Dodanim; he is omitted by Josephus: his country is by the Targum of Jonathan called Dordania; and by the Jerusalem Targum Dodonia; and he and his posterity are placed by Mr. Mede in part of Peloponnessus and Epirus, in which was the city of Dodona, where were the famous temple and oracle of Jupiter Dodonaeus, under which name this man was worshipped. In 1 Chronicles 1:7 he is called Rodanim, and in the Samaritan version here; and the word is by the Septuagint translated Rodians; which have led some to think of the island of Rhodes as the seat, and the inhabitants of it as the posterity of this man; but Bochart (x) is of opinion, that they settled in the country now called France, gave the name to the river Rhodanus, and called the adjacent country Rhodanusia, and where formerly was a city of that name, much about the same tract where now stands Marseilles; but this seems too remote for a son of Javan.

(l) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.) (m) Ib. (n) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 7. (o) Onomastic. Saer. p. 944. (p) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.) (q) Odyss. 11. ver. 520. (r) Geograph. l. 13. p. 423. (s) Ibid. l. 5. c. 8. (t) Attic. Noct. l. 9. c. 3.((u) Hist. l. 8. p. 376. (w) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 5. col. 159, 160. (x) Phaleg. l. 3. c. 6. col. 163, 164.

And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
4. the sons of Javan] The names here mentioned are evidently geographical. Javan’s sons are well-known Greek colonies and settlements or communities. This example will serve to illustrate the composition of the genealogical list.

Elishah] Mentioned in Ezekiel 27:7 as a place from which there was a trade in purple. Josephus identified it with the Æolians. Other conjectures have been Hellas, Elis, Sicily, and Carthage. Possibly, it is Alasa, the modern Cyprus.

Tarshish] Probably the ancient commercial town of Tartessus, at the mouth of the river Guadalquivir. It is classed with the isles in Psalm 72:10, Isaiah 60:9. Its trade is mentioned in Ezekiel 27:12. On “the ships of Tarshish” in King Solomon’s time, see 1 Kings 10:22; 1 Kings 22:48. There were Greek settlements at Tartessus. Cf. Herodotus, i. 163.

Kittim] Usually identified with Cyprus and its inhabitants. The chief town was Κιτίον, the modern Larnaca, and was probably occupied at an early time by Greek-speaking people. The name “Kittim” became transferred from Cyprus to other islands. Cf. Jeremiah 2:10; Ezekiel 27:6.

Dodanim] In 1 Chronicles 1:7, Rodanim. The LXX and Sam. agree with 1 Chronicles 1:7; and this reading is generally preferred, Rodanim being identified with the island of Rhodes. In Ezekiel 27:15, “the men of Dedan” similarly appear in LXX as ῥόδιοι, i.e. the Rhodians trafficking with the city of Tyre.

Verse 4. - And the sons of Javan; Elizhah. The isles of Elishah are praised by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:7) for their blue and purple; supposed to have been Elis in the Peloponnesus, famous for its purple dyes (Bochart); AEolis (Josephus, Knobel); Hellas (Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Kalisch); without doubt a maritime people of Grecian stock ('Speaker's Commentary'). And Tarshish. Tarsus in Cilicia (Josephus); but rather Tartessus in Spain (Eusehius, Michaelis, Bochart, Kalisch). Biblical notices represent Tarshish as a wealthy and flourishing seaport town towards the west (vide 1 Kings 10:22; Psalm 48:7; Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 60:9; Isaiah 66:19; Jeremiah 10:9; Ezekiel 27:12). Kittim. Chittim (Numbers 24:24); Citium in Cyprus (Josephus), though latterly the name appears to have been extended to Citium in Macedonia (Alexander the Great is called the king of Chittim, 1 Macc. 1:1 1 Macc. 8:5), and the colonies which settled on the shores of Italy and Greece (Bochart, Keil, Kalisch). Isaiah 23:1, 12; Daniel 11:30 describe it as a maritime people. And Dodanim. Dordona in Epirus (Michaelis, Rosenmüller); the Dardaniaus, or Trojan's (Gesenius); the Daunians of South Italy (Kalisch); the Rhodani in Gaul, reading as in 1 Chronicles 1:7 (Bochart). Josephus omits the name, and Scripture does not again mention it. Genesis 10:4Descendants of Javan. Elishah suggests Elis, and is said by Josephus to denote the Aeolians, the oldest of the Thessalian tribes, whose culture was Ionian in its origin; Kiepert, however, thinks of Sicily. Tarshish (in the Old Testament the name of the colony of Tartessus in Spain) is referred by Knobel to the Etruscans or Tyrsenians, a Pelasgic tribe of Greek derivation; but Delitzsch objects, that the Etruscans were most probably of Lydian descent, and, like the Lydians of Asia Minor, who were related to the Assyrians, belonged to the Shemites. Others connect the name with Tarsus in Cilicia. But the connection with the Spanish Tartessus must be retained, although, so long as the origin of this colony remains in obscurity, nothing further can be determined with regard to the name. Kittim embraces not only the Citiaei, Citienses in Cyprus, with the town Cition, but, according to Knobel and Delitzsch, probably "the Carians, who settled in the lands at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea; for which reason Ezekiel (Genesis 27:6) speaks of the "isles of Chittim." Dodanim (Dardani): according to Delitzsch, "the tribe related to the Ionians and dwelling with them from the very first, which the legend has associated with them in the two brothers Jasion and Dardanos;" according to Knobel, "the whole of the Illyrian or north Grecian tribe."
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