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Biography

Javen, son of Japheth, eldest son of Noah (Moses 8:12; see also Gen. 5:32; 6:10; 7:13; 9:18, 23). Japheth descendants were dispersed over the European coasts of the Mediterranean and the districts adjoining the Black and Caspian seas (Gen. 10:1–5, 21; 1 Chr. 1:4–5), forming what is now called the Indo-European family of nations.

Founder of Greek Race

Javan is regarded as the founder of the Greek race (Gen. 10:2, 4; 1 Chr. 1:5, 7; Isa. 66:19; Ezek. 27:13; also Dan. 8:21; 10:20; 11:2; Zech. 9:13). Flavius Josephus states the traditional belief that this individual was the ancestor of the Greek people.

Also serving as the Hebrew name for Greece or Greeks in general, יָוָן Yavan or Yāwān has long been considered cognate with the name of the eastern Greeks, the Ionians (Greek Ἴωνες Iōnes, Homeric Greek Ἰάονες Iáones; Mycenean Greek *Ιαϝονες Iawones). The Greek race has been known by cognate names throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East and beyond—in Sanskrit (यवन yavana) or proto Aryan languages it probably originated. In Greek mythology, the eponymous forefather of the Ionians is similarly called Ion, a son of Apollo. The opinion that Javan is synonymous with Greek Ion and thus fathered the Ionians is common to numerous writers of the early modern period including Sir Walter Raleigh, Samuel Bochart, John Mill and Jonathan Edwards, and is still frequently encountered today.

Javan is also found in apocalyptic literature in the Book of Daniel, 8:21-22 and 11:2, in reference to the King of Greece (יון)—most commonly interpreted as a reference to Alexander the Great.

While Javan is generally associated with the ancient Greeks and Greece (cf. Gen. 10:2, Dan. 8:21, Zech. 9:13, etc.), his sons (as listed in Genesis 10) have usually been associated with locations in the Northeastern Mediterranean Sea and Anatolia: Elishah (modern Cyprus), Tarshish (Tarsus in Cilicia, but after 1646 often identified with Tartessus in Spain), Kittim (modern Cyprus), and Dodanim (alt. 1 Chron. 1:7 'Rodanim,' the island of Rhodes, west of modern Turkey between Cyprus and the mainland of Greece).

Genesis Narrative

Japheth's descendants were dispersed over the European coasts of the Mediterranean and the districts adjoining the Black and Caspian seas (Gen. 10:1–5, 21; 1 Chr. 1:4–5), forming what is now called the Indo-European family of nations (Gentiles).


1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
3 And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.
4 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

Historical Map

Japheth2018

Geographic identifications for the Sons of Noah (Flavius Josephus, c. 100 AD); Japheth's sons shown in red

Marriage and Family

  1. Elishah ben Javan
  2. Tarshish ben Javen
  3. Kittim ben Javen
  4. Dodanim ben Javen



Children


Offspring of Javan and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Elishah ben Javan
Tarshish ben Javen
Kittim ben Javen
Dodanim ben Javen

Siblings


Offspring of Japheth and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Javan ben Japheth 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
Meshech ben Japheth 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
Gomer ben Japheth
Magog ben Japheth 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia
Madai ben Japheth
Tiras ben Japheth
Tubal ben Japheth

References


Footnotes (including sources)

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Please check for any inaccuracies, and modify and cite sources as needed.