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After the Tower of Babel: Which People Went Where?

  This article describes who Josephus was, speaks a little about his background, and describes that about 2,000 years ago he described specifically, father to son to son, etc., how it was - to his knowledge - that many of the nations known to Rome had descended from Noah's sons.  His explanation did not conflict with the Bible, but added quite a lot of additional information.  You'll see an excerpt from his writing called 'The Antiquities of the Jews' where he offers his knowledge on this subject.  And after that is excerpted the Bible's 'Table of the Nations' for the reader to consider.  Josephus' writings were, for hundreds of years, second only to the Bible as the most read of writings.  He was VERY well respected, VERY widely read, but is now somewhat forgotten in our day.  That may be a great loss for our understanding of world history.

 

  There was a most excellent (in my opinion) ancient Jewish historian named Joseph ben Matityahu who was renamed Titus Flavius Josephus by the Roman rulers of his time.  Vespasian and his son Titus (both would become Roman Emperors in their lifetimes) first waged war against him as Josephus tried to defend a strong walled city in Israel against the besieging military might of Rome.  He did not succeed, but his imaginative and determined defense strategies won their admiration.  Then they were going to execute him, but they feted him with a dinner first - a nod of respect to a defeated General.  At that dinner Josephus prophesied to Vespasian that God had very good news for Vespasian.  Was Josephus stalling for time to save his life?  They must have wondered.  But they delayed Josephus' execution just in case...what if some mighty God was speaking through this man?  And it was good they did delay.  Soon they were forced to decide by the prophecy he uttered, a prophecy that a messenger from Rome would soon arrive to tell Vespasian that the Romans wished Vespasian as their Emperor, that Josephus had spoken for a God.  The prophecy came true, the Roman messenger did show up.  There was a wish for Vespasian to return to Rome to become the new Emperor.  Perhaps Josephus was a great favorite of some powerful God.  And so they thought it wiser not to execute him.  Why anger a powerful God? 

  And then later took they took Josephus back to Rome as a friend they had come to admire.  The Roman's had destroyed Josephus, and Josephus, in their 'friendly' custody, had watched it all with anguish. 

  He spent many of the later years in his life as a courtier/acquaintance of the leading Romans - including Emperors - of his time period.  He wrote, at the Roman's request, a history of the world as the Jews understood it.

 Josephus lived about 2,000 years ago.  Accepted Bible chronology suggests Josephus lived about 2400 years after the Great Flood.  He felt it a very easy matter to explain where the sons of Noah had gone.  Josephus felt he could accurately describe how the founding father of many of the great ancient Mediterranean nations of 2,000 years ago could trace their lineage back to Noah.

   It also illustrates that Josephus (a 1st century A.D. Jewish Levite historian among many other things - I say 'among other things' because this guy was extremely accomplished!) did not feel that the origins of the peoples and nations of the Mediterranean world were any great mystery what so ever.  He felt he could confidently walk the lineage of many of the nations of his time back to one or another of the sons of Noah with quite a high degree of certainty.  In fact, he attributed most of the confusion about the origin of the nations, which was already a problem in his time, to the Greeks!

   Josephus said that the Greeks during their time as the world's dominant empire, which followed the Persian Empire and precede the Roman Empire, had been very fond of renaming peoples and geographical features to better fit the Greek tongue and were guilty of having altered historical events somewhat to glorify their national ancestry, validate their empire, etc.  But Josephus (who was born from the priestly Israelite tribe of Levi, and who had parents of high standing and some apparent wealth who had seen to it that Josephus was educated by the best of the best of the scholars available in Israel) openly informed his readers that he had indeed been taught at the feet of the top Jewish teachers of his day.  And he wrote that his teachings concerning history and the peoples of the world had not been contaminated with those errors that he said had been introduced by the Greek Empire, and which had left people confused about the true history of mankind. 

  So Josephus believed and wrote that all the Earth's peoples, all men and women, descended from the sons of Noah and their wives, and to a large extent he could explain step by step how each of the great peoples of the Mediterranean world had come to live where they did.  He knew which son of Noah they sprang from, he said.  He was not in disagreement with the 'Old Testament' description of the history of mankind, but he added more information than what is offered in Genesis.  He expanded upon the information that is found in the Table of Nations.  He added further detail, and it is interesting detail.  Is it accurate detail?  Josephus has proven highly reliable!!  But let better scholars than I am decide that!  So here below is listed that information, and beneath the excerpt from Josephus is the 'Table of Nations' information from Genesis chapter 10.  

  As you read it, remember that Josephus, not always a bashful man, considered himself to have been tutored by the best teachers that Israel could offer.  He said that before Rome had conquered Israel he, Josephus, had been considered among the most knowledgeable of men in such matters as Jewish history among his people the Jews.  That doesn't sound too humble, but I have read a lot of Josephus' writings, and I am pretty much astounded at his knowledge level.  He really was something special, I believe.     

  The main point of this article is to show that there really is a pretty clear and direct link from Adam to Noah, from Noah to his sons, from his sons (Shem, Ham, and Japhet) to their sons and from there to the known nations of about 2,000 years ago.  And taking it from there, 2,000 years ago today, some of the historians alive today could probably do a pretty good job of telling us where the descendants of those very nations are living today.  Of course all people today are mixed and many have in fact been widely scattered, perhaps a few almost extinguished by wars and other misfortunes.  Josephus' writings linked the people of 2000 years ago very firmly and directly to the three sons of Noah, and thereby corroborates and suggests the historical truth of the Bible's timeline of history.   

  Here below, excerpted from Josephus' writing called 'The Antiquities of the Jews', Book 1,  Chapter 6, copied from a site called Sacred-Texts, is Josephus' statement about the origin of many of the peoples of the world, most especially around the Mediterranean Sea region, in the heyday of the Roman Empire at around 75 A.D.  :

 

CHAPTER 6.

HOW EVERY NATION WAS DENOMINATED FROM THEIR FIRST INHABITANTS.

1. Now they were the grandchildren of Noah, in honor of whom names were imposed on the nations by those that first seized upon them. 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 Tansis, and along Europe to Cadiz; [this Cadiz is in Spain on its Atlantic coast, and is considered one of Europe's oldest cities : Deeds of God author] and settling themselves on the lands which they light upon, which none had inhabited before, they called the nations by their own names. For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] but were then called Gomerites. [These are the same people as the Galls that dwelled in portions of France : Deeds of God author]  Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians. [Scythians were a horse riding warrior type people, feared and respected.  They are closely associated with Cimmerians by many experts.  A young Scythian warrior prospect needed to ride swiftly beside a lake and show that he could down waterfowl from the sky with his arrows as he rode.  Deeds of God author]  Now as to Javan and Madai, the sons of Japhet; from Madai came the Madeans, who are called Medes, by the Greeks; but from Javan, Ionia, and all the Grecians, are derived. [It is said in ancient Greek history that the sons of a man named 'Hellen' were the founders of the 4 great foundational tribes of the earliest Greeks.  It could be noted that the word 'Javan' and the word 'Hellen' share similarities, especially if you pronounce the 'J' in Javan as an 'h' sound, such as the Spanish language does, for instance.  Could these 2 names refer to the same person?  Deeds of God author]  Thobel founded the Thobelites, who are now called Iberes [the 'Iberian Peninsula' is a well known name for Spain even today!  Deeds of God author] ; and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians. [Some historians write that Moscow the city is named from this word Masoch.  Deeds of God author] There is also a mark of their ancient denomination still to be shown; for there is even now among them a city called Mazaca, which may inform those that are able to understand, that so was the entire nation once called. Thiras also called those whom he ruled over Thirasians; but the Greeks changed the name into Thracians.  [Thracians are said to have divided into a great many tribes...some say over 200.  Western Turkey, portions of Bulgaria, and nearby areas of Greece have peoples who believe themselves of Thracian origin today.  Ancient Troy was at least allied with Thracians, and some researchers think Troy was founded by Thracian related peoples.  Some say Alexander the Great and his father Phillip II had Thracian lineage that had led to a Macedonian branch.  Some sources say that portions of their ancient homelands within today's South-Eastern Europe were the first area to actually be called Europe, though today's Europe is much larger, of course.  Deeds of God author]  And so many were the countries that had the children of Japhet for their inhabitants. Of the three sons of Gomer, Aschanax founded the Aschanaxians, who are now called by the Greeks Rheginians. [And these Ashchanaxians are said to be the same as Cimmerians by some historians.  Deeds of God author].  So did Riphath found the Ripheans, now called Paphlagonians [Named as allies to ancient Troy back in the 1200 BC time frame, and who in part later emigrated to the area of Italy called Venetia with a defeated and escaped Trojan prince searching for a new home land.  They displaced local inhabitants and settled there, flourishing for many centuries and probably have many descendants there today.  Deeds of God author] ; and Thrugramma the Thrugrammeans [Some relate this to the name Togarma, a grand-son of Japhet], who, as the Greeks resolved, were named Phrygians. [Phrygians are the people that had Midas, of the mythological Golden touch, for their king at one point.  The fabled Gordian knot was also a puzzle of interwoven rope located in their kingdom.  They were conquered by many as the centuries rolled by, and after the 400's A.D. it is said that there is little mention of them.]  Of the three sons of Javan also, the son of Japhet, Elisa gave name to the Eliseans, who were his subjects; they are now the Aeolians. [Aeolians were one of the 4 founding people groups of the Greeks.  Deeds of God author.]  Tharsus to the Tharsians, for so was Cilicia of old called; the sign of which is this, that the noblest city they have, and a metropolis also, is Tarsus, the tau being by change put for the theta. Cethimus possessed the island Cethima: it is now called Cyprus; and from that it is that all islands, and the greatest part of the sea-coasts, are named Cethim by the Hebrews: and one city there is in Cyprus that has been able to preserve its denomination; it has been called Citius by those who use the language of the Greeks, and has not, by the use of that dialect, escaped the name of Cethim. And so many nations have the children and grandchildren of Japhet possessed. Now when I have premised somewhat, which perhaps the Greeks do not know, I will return and explain what I have omitted; for such names are pronounced here after the manner of the Greeks, to please my readers; for our own country language does not so pronounce them: but the names in all cases are of one and the same ending; for the name we here pronounce Noeas, is there Noah, and in every case retains the same termination.

2. The children of Ham possessed the land from Syria and Amanus, and the mountains of Libanus; seizing upon all that was on its sea-coasts, and as far as the ocean, and keeping it as their own. Some indeed of its names are utterly vanished away; others of them being changed, and another sound given them, are hardly to be discovered; yet a few there are which have kept their denominations entire. For of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the name of Chus; for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Chusites. The memory also of the Mesraites is preserved in their name; for all we who inhabit this country [of Judea] called Egypt Mestre, and the Egyptians Mestreans. Phut also was the founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself: there is also a river in the country of Moors which bears that name; whence it is that we may see the greatest part of the Grecian historiographers mention that river and the adjoining country by the apellation of Phut: but the name it has now has been by change given it from one of the sons of Mesraim, who was called Lybyos. We will inform you presently what has been the occasion why it has been called Africa also. Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, inhabited the country now called Judea, and called it from his own name Canaan. The children of these [four] were these: Sabas, who founded the Sabeans; Evilas, who founded the Evileans, who are called Getuli; Sabathes founded the Sabathens, they are now called by the Greeks Astaborans; Sabactas settled the Sabactens; and Ragmus the Ragmeans; and he had two sons, the one of whom, Judadas, settled the Judadeans, a nation of the western Ethiopians, and left them his name; as did Sabas to the Sabeans: but Nimrod, the son of Chus, staid and tyrannized at Babylon, as we have already informed you. Now all the children of Mesraim, being eight in number, possessed the country from Gaza to Egypt, though it retained the name of one only, the Philistim; for the Greeks call part of that country Palestine. As for the rest, Ludieim, and Enemim, and Labim, who alone inhabited in Libya, and called the country from himself, Nedim, and Phethrosim, and Chesloim, and Cephthorim, we know nothing of them besides their names; for the Ethiopic war (17) which we shall describe hereafter, was the cause that those cities were overthrown. The sons of Canaan were these: Sidonius, who also built a city of the same name; it is called by the Greeks Sidon

Amathus inhabited in Amathine [this is said to correspond geographically to Macedonia by several ancient authorities: Deeds of God author] which is even now called Amathe by the inhabitants, although the Macedonians named it Epiphania, from one of his posterity: Arudeus possessed the island Aradus [a small island about 2 miles off the coast of Syria, today it is Syria's only settled island some sources say: Deeds of God author]: Arucas possessed Arce, which is in Libanus. But for the seven others, [Eueus,] Chetteus, Jebuseus [A people called the Jebusites are mentioned in the Bible as very early residents (original post-flood founders?) of Jerusalem - Deeds of God author], Amorreus, Gergesus, Eudeus, Sineus, Samareus, we have nothing in the sacred books but their names, for the Hebrews overthrew their cities; and their calamities came upon them on the occasion following.

3. Noah, when, after the deluge, the earth was resettled in its former condition, set about its cultivation; and when he had planted it with vines, and when the fruit was ripe, and he had gathered the grapes in their season, and the wine was ready for use, he offered sacrifice, and feasted, and, being drunk, he fell asleep, and lay naked in an unseemly manner. When his youngest son saw this, he came laughing, and showed him to his brethren; but they covered their father's nakedness. And when Noah was made sensible of what had been done, he prayed for prosperity to his other sons; but for Ham, he did not curse him, by reason of his nearness in blood, but cursed his prosperity: and when the rest of them escaped that curse, God inflicted it on the children of Canaan. But as to these matters, we shall speak more hereafter.

4. Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons, who inhabited the land that began at Euphrates, and reached to the Indian Ocean. For Elam left behind him the Elamites, the ancestors of the Persians. Ashur lived at the city Nineve; and named his subjects Assyrians, who became the most fortunate nation, beyond others. Arphaxad named the Arphaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans. Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks called Syrians; as Laud founded the Laudites, which are now called Lydians. Of the four sons of Aram, Uz founded Trachonitis and Damascus: this country lies between Palestine and Celesyria. Ul founded Armenia; and Gather the Bactrians; and Mesa the Mesaneans; it is now called Charax Spasini. Sala was the son of Arphaxad; and his son was Heber, from whom they originally called the Jews Hebrews. (18) Heber begat Joetan and Phaleg: he was called Phaleg, because he was born at the dispersion of the nations to their several countries; for Phaleg among the Hebrews signifies division. Now Joctan, one of the sons of Heber, had these sons, Elmodad, Saleph, Asermoth, Jera, Adoram, Aizel, Decla, Ebal, Abimael, Sabeus, Ophir, Euilat, and Jobab. These inhabited from Cophen, an Indian river, and in part of Asiaadjoining to it. And this shall suffice concerning the sonsof Shem.

5. I will now treat of the Hebrews. The son of Phaleg, whose father Was Heber, was Ragau; whose son was Serug, to whom was born Nahor; his son was Terah, who was the father of Abraham, who accordingly was the tenth from Noah, and was born in the two hundred and ninety-second year after the deluge; for Terah begat Abram in his seventieth year. Nahor begat Haran when he was one hundred and twenty years old; Nahor was born to Serug in his hundred and thirty-second year; Ragau had Serug at one hundred and thirty; at the same age also Phaleg had Ragau; Heber begat Phaleg in his hundred and thirty-fourth year; he himself being begotten by Sala when he was a hundred and thirty years old, whom Arphaxad had for his son at the hundred and thirty-fifth year of his age. Arphaxad was the son of Shem, and born twelve years after the deluge. Now Abram had two brethren, Nahor and Haran: of these Haran left a son, Lot; as also Sarai and Milcha his daughters; and died among the Chaldeans, in a city of the Chaldeans, called Ur; and his monument is shown to this day. These married their nieces. Nabor married Milcha, and Abram married Sarai. Now Terah hating Chaldea, on account of his mourning for Ilaran, they all removed to Haran of Mesopotamia, where Terah died, and was buried, when he had lived to be two hundred and five years old; for the life of man was already, by degrees, diminished, and became shorter than before, till the birth of Moses; after whom the term of human life was one hundred and twenty years, God determining it to the length that Moses happened to live. Now Nahor had eight sons by Milcha; Uz and Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Azau, Pheldas, Jadelph, and Bethuel. These were all the genuine sons of Nahor; for Teba, and Gaam, and Tachas, and Maaca, were born of Reuma his concubine: but Bethuel had a daughter, Rebecca, and a son, Laban.

End quoting Josephus

 

  Now here below is the Table of the Nations from Genesis chapter 10, which is God's powerful word on the same subject, except that it was in writing about 1400 to 1500 years before Josephus lived.  So, while the Table of Nations has God for its source, trumping anything Josephus could ever say where authority and credibility are concerned, yet Josephus is able to fill in the movements of the various nations in the 1500 years that stretched from the writing of the Old Testament up to and including his time. He is therefore a less dependable historian than God, but potentially a very useful source of information on this subject.  And Josephus seems to have been very well loved by God.  God used him mightily.  Here, from the Bible...

The Table of Nations

10 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

The Japhethites

The sons[a] of Japheth:

Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.

The sons of Gomer:

Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.

The sons of Javan:

Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites.[b] (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)

The Hamites

The sons of Ham:

Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.

The sons of Cush:

Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka.

The sons of Raamah:

Sheba and Dedan.

Cush was the father[c] of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in[d] Shinar.[e] 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir,[f] Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city.

13 Egypt was the father of

the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.

15 Canaan was the father of

Sidon his firstborn,[g] and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.

Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha.

20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

The Semites

21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was[h] Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.

22 The sons of Shem:

Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.

23 The sons of Aram:

Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek.[i]

24 Arphaxad was the father of[j] Shelah,

and Shelah the father of Eber.

25 Two sons were born to Eber:

One was named Peleg,[k] because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.

26 Joktan was the father of

Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.

30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country.

31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

 

  Perhaps a few of you who know your history well and spring from a well tracked branch of the human family will be able to trace out how you descend from Noah, using these writings of Josephus, to understand how your ancestors moved about until the days of Josephus about 2,000 years ago.  And then perhaps you can use historical documentation concerning the travels of those same ancestral peoples since that time 2,000 years ago...essentially the days when our Lord walked the Earth.   After all, if Josephus is correct about the descent of those nations and their locality as of 2,000 years ago, aren't at least a few of those people pretty well traceable to our own day and time?  Which one might your family descend from?  It makes it interesting doesn't it?  But more importantly, it begins to make it obvious that the Bible's history of man makes ever more sense, and is supported by a body of evidence that only seems to increase.  And increase.  And increase. 

 

©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website