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JAPHETH. (Japhet). [see CHART A2], [see CHART A3], [see CHART A40]

Son of NOAH.

There has been speculation over whether or not Japeth was the older or younger son of Noah, since the children of Noah are sometimes listed in order as Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Bible (S2) quite clearly declares Japheth to be the elder brother:

Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. Genesis 10:21.

The Peal of Great Price (S3) confirms that Japheth is the older son of Noah.

And Noah was four hundred and fifty years old, and begat Japheth; and fourty-two years afterward he begat Shem.... Moses 8:12. (S3).

Following the timing of the patriarchs from Adam, as set forth in Genesis, chapter 5, Japheth was born in the year of the world (Anno Mundi) 1456. That is, he was born 1456 years after Adam began to reckon time.

His descent from ADAM:


He was thus born before the flood. He survived the flood and traveled with his family on the Ark.

And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Genesis 7:6-7.

This also shows that Japheth was 150 years old when he and his family entered the ark. He and his family were on the ark for one year.

And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark...And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth.... Genesis 7:7,10-11. (S2).

This gives us the age of Noah, in his six hundredth year, the second month, the seventeenth day, when the floods began. They had been in the ark, per vers 10, for seven days. In other words, they entered the ark in Noah's 600th year, in the second month, on the tenth day. Now for the exit from the ark:

And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: Genesis 8:13-18. (S2)

And also:

And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth. Genesis 9:18. (S2).

So they were on the ark slightly more than one year. Japheth was thus 151 years old when they departed from the Ark.

In the Bible, Japheth is ascribed seven sons.

The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Ma'dai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. Genesis 10:2. (S2).

This is reiterated in 1 Chronicles 1:5. The scriptures do not describe the sons of Noah having any children on the Ark, so we presume that these sons of Japheth were born after the flood. The Bible states that the sons of Japheth inhabited the "isles of the Gentiles," (Genesis 10:5), which is commonly believed to be the Greek isles.

Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews I.6) (S1a) says:

Japhet, the son of Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so, that, beginning at the mountains Taurus and Amanus, they proceeded along Asia, as far as the river Tanais (Don), and along Europe to Cadiz (in Spain); and settling themselves on the lands which they light upon, which none had inhabited before, they called the nations by their own names. (S1a).

Josephus subsequently detailed the nations supposed to have descended from the seven sons of Japheth.

Among the nations various later writers have attempted to assign to them are as follows:

* Javan: Greeks (Ionians)
* Magog: Scythians, Slavs, Irish, Hungarians
* Madai: Mitanni, Mannai, Medes, Persians, Indo-Aryans, Kurds
* Tubal: Tabali, Georgians, Italics, Illyrians, Iberians, Basques
* Tiras: Thracians, Goths, Jutes, Teutons
* Meshech: Phrygians, Caucasus Iberians
* Gomer: Scythians, Turks, Armenians, Welsh, Picts, Irish, Germans.

In the same vein, Georgian nationalist histories associate Japheth's sons with certain ancient tribes, called Tubals (Tabals, Tibarenoi in Greek) and Meshechs (Meshekhs/Mosokhs, Moschoi in Greek), who they claim represent non-Indo-European and non-Semitic, possibly "Proto-Iberian" tribes of Asia Minor of the 3rd-1st millennias BC.

In the 19th century, Biblical syncretists associated the sons of Noah with ancient pagan gods. Japheth was identified by some scholars with figures from other mythologies, including Iapetos, the Greek Titan; the Indian figures Dyaus Pitar and Pra-Japati, and the Roman Iu-Pater or "Father Jove", which became Jupiter. Some or all of these resemblances may be mere coincidence; the actual Proto-Indo-European etymology of Latin Iuppiter or Iupiter, i.e. "Jupiter", is usually reconstructed as *dyeu-p?ter, "sky-father" (the * denotes a hypothetical, unattested form).

The name of Japheth's wife is not given in the Holy Bible.

  1. Gomer. And the sons of Gomer; Ash'kenaz, and Riphath, and Togar'mah. Genesis 10:3; 1 Chronicles 1:6.
  2. MAGOG. [CHART A40].
  3. Madai.
  4. Javan. And the sons of Javan; Eli'shah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Do'danim. Genesis 10:4; 1 Chronicles 1:7.
  5. Tubal.
  6. Meshech.
  7. Tiras.