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both that all the nations of the earth whose history is known, or can be traced back to their origin, are descended from the family of Noah, and that this has taken place since the period at which, according to the Septuagint chronology, he and his sons went forth from the ark to be the new heads of the human race. At the same time it may be shown that there is nothing in the condition or known facts of any nation inconsistent with the same origin. In other words, it may be proved beyond reasonable doubt, from the traces which man himself has left in the world, that all the known races and families which have peopled the earth sprung from a common source, on the continent of Asia, at a period not exceeding 5000 years ago, while there is no evidence as to any other race or people that is not reconcilable with that conclusion.
The Scripture account of the origin and descent of the various nations of men is given in the tenth chapter of Genesis. This chapter has always been considered a document of great interest to students of ethnology, and that, too, to whatever school of biblical interpretation they may belong, whether they accept or reject the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, whether they assign the date of its composition to the reputed time of Moses, or a thousand years later. This is justly due to its subject-matter, and the place it occupies in the sacred narrative. It occurs just at that point where the account ceases to be general, and is thenceforth devoted more especially to a single branch of the human family. The first five chapters are occupied with the creation and the history of the antediluvian generations, the next three to the deluge, the ninth to the new laws and instructions given to Noah as the second founder of the race, and to the birth and conduct of his sons. Then follows, in the tenth chapter, a more detailed account of "the generations of the sons of Noah," giving the descendants of each, in some instances, to the third or fourth generation, and, in other cases, pointing out the geographical localities occupied by particular families.
This account is as follows, beginning with SHEM, who was probably the oldest of the three sons:
1. "The children of Shem, Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.” (Ver. 22.)
Elam was the father of the Elamites, who dwelt around the northern shore of the Persian Gulf, in the province of Susiana, a part of ancient Babylonia.
Asshur is identical with the Assyrians in the upper valleys of the Tigris. After the Cushite invasion under Nimrod, this became a great Shemitic monarchy, whose capital, Nineveh, was one of the most splendid cities of ancient times.
Arphaxad, the eldest son of Shem, born two years after the flood, is believed to have settled the southern part of the Armenian highlands, near the sources of the Tigris. He was the ancestor of the Hebrews, so named from Eber, his grandson. Through Joktan, one of the sons of Eber, he is also the ancestor of numerous tribes of Semitic Arabs, the heads of whose families are given in ver. 26–30, and whose abode was " from Mesha as thou goest unto Sephar, a mount of the east,” the modern Zafari or Dhafar, in the southern part of the Arabian peninsula.
Lud was the progenitor of the Lydians, in Asia Minor.
Aram, from a word signifying high, was the ancestor of the people occupying the highlands of Syria, and spreading thence into the vast plains of Mesopotamia. One of his sons, Uz, seems to have given his name to a district in the latter region, distinguished as the residence of the patriarch Job.
2. The second son of Noah was JAPHETH, a name signifying "enlargement,” and denoting the wide extent of country which was to be occupied by his descendants. It is intimated, also, that this was to be the dominant race among the families of mankind (chap. ix. 27), both of which predictions have been signally verified in their subsequent history.
"The sons of Japheth : Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.” (Ver. 2.)
Gomer is regarded as the founder of the tribes which first settled on the shores of the Black Sea, and from thence, under the names of Cimmerians, Cimbri, or Kymry, ultimately spread throughout Northern Europe. His sons were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. The first is supposed by some to have given its name to Asia ; * others
regard it as equivalent to the Gothic As-chunis, the « race of Ases, representing " the Germanic and Scan
dinavian nations not yet separated, and inhabiting a limited district to the north-east' of the Black Sea." + Riphath is "the group of Celts, or Gauls, then established in their first European settlements on the Riphæan Mountains, — the present Carpathians, – before entering on their last migration toward the France of our days.” | Togarmah is universally regarded as Armenia.
Magog was the progenitor of an extensive race of wild people, north of the Caucasus, called by the Greeks Scythians. The ultimate subdivisions of this race, and their migrations in Europe and Asia, are little known. Many suppose them to constitute what is called the Turanian races, including the Hungarians and Sarmatians of the west, the Turks, Finns, Tatars of the north, and the original tribes of Central and Southern India on the south.
* Philip Smith's Hist. of the World, p. 41. † Anc. Hist. of the East, vol. ii. p. 61.
Madai represents the Medes, or the great Iranian family of Persia.
Javan was the father of the Ionians and Greeks. Of his four sons, Elishah is supposed to be the same as Hellas ; Tarshish is thought to be Tartessus, in Spain, or, as others suggest," the Tyrrhenian Pelasgians, who formed the primitive population of a great part of Italy ; * Kittim, the inhabitants of · Cyprus, where was the ancient town of Citium ; and Dodanim, the Dardanians of Asia Minor, or the Epirotes, among whom was the famous town and oracle of Dodona.
Tubal is identified with the Tibareni of Pontus. · Meshech is probably the Moschi mentioned by Herodotus, as living in the same vicinity.
Tiras was the ancestor of the Thracians.
3. Ham was the youngest son of Noah. (Chap. ix. 24.) The word means " black," or "sunburned,” and is especially applicable to the darkskinned families of mankind, although individuals of other families, living in hot countries, acquire also dark complexions.
* Anc. Hist. of the East, vol. ji. p. 61.