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Genesis Noach
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 10:3  10:4
10:1 These are the chronicles of Noah's sons, Shem, Ham and Yefeth. Children were born to them after the flood.
Ve'eleh toldot beney Noach Shem Cham vaYafet vayivaledu lahem banim achar hamabul.
10:2 The sons of Yefeth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Yavan, Tuval, Meshekh, and Tiras.
Beney Yefet Gomer uMagog uMaday veYavan veTuval uMeshech veTiras.
10:3 The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.
Uveney Gomer Ashkenaz veRifat veTogarmah.
10:4 The sons of Yavan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
Uveney Yavan Elisha veTarshish Kitim veDodanim.
10:5 From these the isolated nations branched out into their lands. Each had its own language for its families in its nations.
Me'eleh niferedu iyey hagoyim be'artsotam ish lileshono lemishpechotam begoyehem.
10:6 The sons of Ham were Cush, Mitzraim, Put, and Canaan.
Uveney Cham Kush uMitsrayim uFut uChena'an.


  Most probably a Teutonic people, living to the north of the Holy Land (cf. Ezekiel 38:2). Some sources identify Magog with Germania (Targum Yonathan; Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:5; Pesikta Zutratha). Others identify them with the Goths (Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:9). These were a Teutonic people who migrated to Scythia, in what is now southern Russia.

It is therefore not contradictory when some sources identify Magog with Scythia (Josephus; Yoma 10a, according to Rabbenu Chananel; Arukh s.v. Germamia). Ancient histories state that the Scythians came from Asia, driven by the Massagetae (cf. Meshekh), and settling near the Cimerians (Herodotus 4:11; see note on Genesis 10:2, 'Gomer'). Linguistically, the Scythians were related to the Iranians, and hence, to the Persians and the Medes. It is therefore significant that there was a Persian tribe known as the Germanians (Herodotus 1:125).

Other sources note that Magog may denote the Mongols, whose very name may be a corruption of Magog. Indeed, Arab writers referred to the Great Wall of China as the 'wall of al Magog' (Rabbi Aaron Marcus, Kesseth HaSofer, p. 112a).

Other ancient sources agree with the identification of Magog as living to the north of the Black Sea (Yov'loth 9:8).

  A northern country, see Ezekiel 38:2, 27:13. This is usually identified with Bithynia (Targum Yonathan; Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:5; Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:9). The Talmud also refers to it as Beth-unyaki, which is the Talmudic term for Bithynia (Yoma 10a). This is in the area to the east of the Bospherus (Yov'loth 9:11). Josephus, however, says that the Tuvalites were the Ibers. Some say that these were the people of the Iberian Peninsula, and hence they were the original Spaniards. Indeed, one source says that this is why the Spanish refer to themselves as cen-tuvales (gentualla), literally 'people of Tuval' (Abarbanel). However, there was also an Iberian people who lived to the east of the Black Sea.

  A northern kingdom; cf. Ezekiel 38:2, 27:13; Psalms 120:5. Most Talmudic sources identify Meshekh with Mysia (see Targum Yonathan; Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:5; Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:9; Yoma 10a; Buber on Pesikta Zutratha 26a). This was the land to the west of Bithynia, along the Dardanelles (Hellespont) and Marmara Sea (cf. Yov'loth 9:12; Herodotus 7:42,74). They might possibly be associated with Mycenae, an ancient city in Greece. Josephus, however, associates Meshekh with Cappadocia, whose capital is Mazaka, in what is now central Turkey (see Herodotus 1:72). It is very close to Galatia (see Gomer). Another possibility would be to identify Meshekh with the Massagatae, an ancient people who lived in Russia to the east of the Aral Sea (cf. Herodotus 1:201). It was these people who drove the Scythians into Cimeria (Ibid. 4:11). It is also possible to identify Meshekh with the Moschians mentioned in ancient sources (Herodotus 7:78). The name may be related to the Muskeva River, and hence to Moscow. Indeed, there are sources that say the Meshekh was the forerunner of the Slavs (Kesseth HaSofer).

  In 1 Chronicles 1:6, however, the reading is Diphath (cf. Rashi ad loc.). Josephus identifies these people with the Paphlagonians, an ancient people who lived on the Rifas River (see Kesseth HaSofer 113a. Cf. Herodotus 7:72; Iliad 2:851). Other sources identify it with Parkhvan, Parkvi or Parsvey (Targum Yonathan; Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:6), most probably Parkvi, a country in Northern Ariana (in Persia). Still others identify it with Chadiv or Hadiath (Yerushalmi, Megilla 1:9; Bereshith Rabbah 37). The correct reading is most probably Hadiyv, which is identified with Adiebena, a district in Assyria between the Lycus and Caprus rivers. Abarbanel identifies these people with the Etruscans, who settled in Italy, Venice and France.

  In 1 Chronicles 1:7, it is Tarshishah. It was famed for its ships, see 1 Kings 10:22, 22:49, etc. Also see Isaiah 23;10, 66:19, Ezekiel 38:13, Jonah 1:3. Josephus identifies it with Cilicia, whose capital was Tarsus. The identification with Tarsus is also upheld in Talmudic sources (Targum Yonathan; Yerushalmi, Megilla 1:9). Some associate it with Tuscany, Lombardi, Florence and Milan (Abarbanel. Cf. Sefer HaYashar).

  An island people; cf. Jeremiah 2:10, Ezekiel 27:6. Also see Numbers 24:24, Isaiah 23:1, 23:12, Daniel 11:30. Josephus identifies it with Cyprus, whose main city was Citius (cf. Abarbanel). The Targum, however identifies it with Italy (Italion, Italia), and hence, it is seen as the source of the Italian and Romans (cf. Targum on Numbers 24:24).

isolated nations
  (Cf. Hirsch; Kesseth HaSofer). Literally 'islands.'

  See note on Genesis 2:13. There was also an ancient city of Kish 8 miles east of Babylon. Other ancient sources also indicate that it was to the east of the Holy Land (cf. Yov'loth 9:1). The Targum however, renders it as Arabia (Targum Yonathan; Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:8). This, however, may also have referred to an area in Africa on the upper Nile (cf. Herodotus 2:19). Josephus identifies Cush here with Ethiopia.

  See Jeremiah 46:9, Ezekiel 27:10, 38:5, Nahum 3:9. Josephus identifies it with Lybyos or Lybia in North Africa. In Coptic (ancient Egyptian), Lybia is also known as Phiait. The Targum, however, renders it as Alichrok, possibly Heracleotes. Other ancient sources state that it is to the east of the Holy Land (Yov'loth 9:1).

  All the following nations belong to the Indo-European language group. Some have identified Yefeth with the Greek Iapetus.

  Most probably the Celts (cf. Herodotus 2:33), the Franks, or the Gauls, all of whom were closely related. Early sources translate this as Afrikey (Targum Yonathan. Cf. Targum on 1 Kings 20:22, 22:49, where this is the translation of Tarshish; see Genesis 10:4). This Afrikey, however, is not Africa, but Frikia or Phrygia (Arukh HaShalem; Buber on Pesikta Zutratha 26a. See note on Genesis 10:3, 'Togarma'). The Phrygians were an ancient nation who lived to the south of the Black Sea (cf. Iliad 2:862; Herodotus 7:30,31). They were originally known as Brigians (Herodotus 7:73). Linguistically, the Phrygians were related to the Armenians, but they may have also been related to the Franks, since there is a resemblance between the two names. Indeed, there are some ancient sources that identify Gomer with the Franks (Sefer HaYashar, p.26; Tol'doth Yitzchak).

The Phrygians were pushed out of their general land in the 8th century b.c.e. by the Cimerians, a people who originally lived in southern Russia (Crimea), to the north of the Black Sea (cf. Herodotus 4:11, 1:16, 1:103). It is therefore significant that the Talmud identifies Gomer with Germamia (Yoma 10a; Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:9). Germamia denotes Cimeria rather than Germany (cf. Arukh HaShalem). In ancient Assyrian, the Cimerians were indeed known as the Gimerrai, cognate to Gomer (in other places, however this is the translation of Togarma, see Targum on Ezekiel 27:14, 38:6). The Cimerians were seen as originally having been a Nordic people (Odyssey 11:12-19). Some sources identify them with the Cimbri of Jutland (around Denmark), a nation of Teutonized Celts.

Josephus writes that Gomer was the founder of the nation known as the Galatians (Antiquities 16:1; cf. Abarbanel). Galatia was in the same area as Phrygia and Cimeria, but it was renamed Galatia (from Gaul) when it was conquered by the Celts of Gaul.

Other ancient sources agree with this, writing that Gomer lived to the east of the Tina (Halys, cf. Herodotus 1:6) River (Sefer HaYov'loth 9:8).

  Ancestor of Medes (Josephus; Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:9). This is also the opinion of the Talmud (Yoma 10a, cf. Hagahoth Beth Chadash, Rabbenu Chananel ad loc; Eyn Yaakov ibid.). Another source translates Madai as Chamadai (Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:5), possibly referring to Hamadan, an ancient Medean capital. An ancient source states that Madai is to the west of Gomer and Magog, on the shores and the islands (Yov'loth 9:9). (See Herodotus 7:62).

  Yawan in ancient Hebrew, denoting Ionia (cf. Josephus. Also see Herodotus 7:94). Other sources state that Yavan is Macedonia (Targum Yonathan; Yoma 10a, see note on Genesis 10:2, 'Madai'). Others translate it as Ovisos (Yerushalmi, Megilla 1:9), denoting Ephisus, an ancient Greek city in Lydia, founded by the Ionians around 1050 b.c.e. An ancient source states that Yavan lived on the islands and the shore of Lydia (Yov'loth 9:10), where indeed the Ionians lived.

  The Targum identifies this as Tarkey (Targum Yonathan), which is identified as Thrace. Josephus likewise states that Tiras is Thrace. This is a people who lived in the Balkans, in what is now European Turkey and Bulgaria. Indeed (as we see in the Targum) Turkey derives its name from Thrace. Linguistically Thracian is related to Albanian. There is also a possible relationship with the Etruscans. It is notable that there was a Tearus (Tiras) River going through Thrace (Herodotus 4:89).

In the Talmud, however, there is a dispute as to the identity of Tiras, with some saying that it is Thrace, while others say that it is Persia (Yoma 10a; Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:9). The Persians, however, received their name from Perseus, whose kingdom was originally Tiryns (Herodotus 7:61). Moreover, one of the original Persian tribes was the Terusieans or Derusieans (Ibid. 1:125).

Another ancient source identifies Tiras with the larger Mediterranean islands (Yov'loth 9:14).

  This is a nation associated with the Ararat area; Jeremiah 51:27. In Talmudic sources, it is rendered as Asia (Targum Yonathan; Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:6; Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:9). In ancient times, besides denoting the entire continent, Asia also referred to what is now the western part of Asiatic Turkey, bordering on the Aegean Sea. However, there was also a tribe of Asies living in the area of Sardis (the modern Sart), the capital of Lydia (Herodotus 4:45). Both are the same area.

Josephus, on the other hand, says that the Ashkenazites are the Reginians. Some associate this with Rhegium (the modern Regga), on the tip of the Italian peninsula (cf. Herodotus 1:167). However, there was also a Rhagae or Rages that was a major city in Medea (cf. Tobit 4:1). This was a bit south of the present Teheran, due south of the Caspean sea (cf. Arukh HaShalem, s.v. Asia). The Medes indeed were known to descend from the race of the Achemenids (Herodotus 7:61).

More logical, however, would be to associate the 'Reginia' of Josephus with Regnum Polemonis, to the south-east of the Black Sea, immediately in the Ararat area. The 'Asia' mentioned in Talmudic sources could then be Amasia, a city in that area.

By the tenth century, the term Ashkenaz was used to refer to Germany (Siddur Rav Amram Gaon). This may be because, as we have seen, Gomer, the father of Ashkenaz, was associated with 'Germania.' But according to this, the 'Reginia' mentioned in Josephus may have been the Rennus or Rhine area. There are other sources that relate Ashkenaz to the Ashkuza mentioned in ancient writings, or to the Scythians.

  A northern people; See Ezekiel 27:14, 38:6. Josephus identifies these people with the Phrygians (see Gomer). Other sources have Barberia (Targum Yonathan; Targum on Chronicles 1:6), which some identify as Germania, Barbara, or Britannia. Indeed there are sources that render Togarmah as Germaniki or Germania (Yerushalmi, Megilla 1:9; Bereshith Rabbah 37; Targum on Ezekiel 38:6). There are other sources that identify Togarmah with the Armenians (Keseth HaSofer) or Turks (Abarbanel). Indeed, in a modern sense, Togarmah is used for Turkey. The name Togarmah corresponds to Tegarma, found in cuneiform inscriptions, referring to an area near Carchemish in Armenia.

  This is seen as an island; see Ezekiel 27:7. Josephus identifies it with the Aeolians (Antiquities 1:6:1), who were known to have inhabited the island of Lesbos (Herodotus 1:151). Others, however, identify it with Sicily (Abarbanel). This is supported by the Targum which renders it Italia (Targum on Ezekiel 27:7).

Talmudic sources identify Elisha with Alsu or Elis (Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:9; Bereshith Rabbah 37). This may be identified with Elis, an ancient land in Peloponnesus (southern Greece) along the Ionian Sea (see Iliad 2:615). A small village, Ilis or Eleis, currently remains on the site of the city of Elis. In the interior of the country was the sanctuary and valley of Olympia, where the quadrennial Olympic games were held for over 1000 years.

Others identify this Talmudic source with Hellas, since the Greeks called themselves Hellas or Ellis (Kesseth HaSofer). This was indeed an ancient appelation for a Greek tribe (cf. Iliad 2:681; but see Thucydides 1:3). It may also be associated with the Halys River, which separated the Greek-dominated area from the Asiatic. The name Helles is also found in the Hellespont, the channel that currently separates Europe from Asia (the modern Dardanelles).

  In 1 Chronicles 1:7 it is Rodanim (cf. Bereshith Rabbah 37:1). The Dodonians were known to be an ancient people (cf. Iliad 2:748; Herodotus 2:52-57). The Targum renders it as Dardania, a city on the Dardanelles, after which the strait was named (cf. Herodotus 1:189, 7:43; Iliad 2:819). The Targum (Yonathan) also adds Ridos, Chamen and Antioch. Ridos is identified with Rhodes (Abarbanel). Others identify the Dodanim with the Bohemians (Tol'doth Yitzchak; cf. Sefer HaYashar).

  The Hebrew name for Egypt. Regarding the origin of the name 'Egypt,' see Josephus, Contra Apion 1:15.

  Aborigine tribe of the Holy Land. See Genesis 10:15-19.

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