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Descendants of Noah in the Ancient World


One of the most ancient and valuable accounts of the races of mankind is found in the tenth chapter of Genesis. It states the location and, in large degree, the relationship of the various families upon the earth, according to the descendants of Abraham.


Descendants of Noah

In the interpretation of this “Table of Nations” certain facts and principles are to be borne in mind.

1) It is incomplete; not undertaking to name all the races of mankind, but only those in the Hebrew, Egyptian, and Assyrian sphere of interest. Neither the yellow, the brown, or the black races show representation upon it, and only a portion of the ruddy or white race.

2) It is popular and not scientific. The Orientals never wrote with the precision of modern students. Hence find in this document terms employed in a general and indefinite manner.

3) It is, in reality, geographical rather than racial. For example, when it says “the sons of Canaan,” we are not always to infer a literal descent, but a location in the land of Canaan. The names upon this table are generally not those of individuals, but of tribes. In some instances relationship may be indicated; but generally all we can affirm is the area of settlement.

4) It arranges the nations according to zones, in a general direction from northwest to southeast; not by continents, as was formerly supposed. The nations of the Japhetic family are found in Asia and Europe; the Shemites, or Semites, in Asia; the so-called Hamitic races, in Asia and Africa. After the deluge an instinct of migration took possession of the human family. From the original home long supposed to be near the Caspian Sea, but now uncertain as to locality, clans moved in all directions, and nations arose, occupying different lands.