Japheth

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Japheth (Hebrew יפת, Yapheth, Moderen Hebrew: Yafet; Greek Ἰάφεθ, Turkish Yafes, Iapheth, Latin Iafeth or Iapetus, Arabic يافث) is one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible. In Arabic citations, his name is normally given as Yafeth bin Nuh (Japheth son of Noah).

Contents

Order of birth

Japheth is often regarded as the youngest son, though some traditions regard him as the eldest. They are listed in the order Shem, Ham, and Japheth in Genesis 5:32 and 9:18, but treated in the reverse order in chapter 10.

Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Japheth and his brother Shem, but with sufficient ambiguity to have given rise to different translations. The verse is translated in the KJV as follows, "Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born". However, the Revised Standard Version reads, "To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born." The differing interpretations depend on whether the Hebrew word ha-gadol ("the elder") is taken as grammatically referring to Japheth, or Shem.

Genesis 5:32 states that Noah had three sons when he was five hundred years old. Genesis 11:10 records that Shem was one hundred years old when his son Arphaxad was born, two years after the Flood. If Noah was six hundred years old (Genesis 7:13), then Shem was ninety-eight years old at the Flood. Ham is further implied to be the middle son in Gen. 9:24 (which says Noah realized what his "younger son" had done to him.)

The Book of Jubilees indicates in 4:33 that Shem was born in the year of the world (after creation) 1205, Ham in 1209, and Japheth in 1211.

Place in Noah's family

For those who take the genealogies of Genesis to be historically accurate, Japheth is commonly believed to be the father of the Europeans. The link between Japheth and the Europeans stems from Genesis 10:5, which states that the sons of Japheth moved to the "isles of the Gentiles," commonly believed to be the Greek isles. According to that book, Japheth and his two brothers formed the three major races:

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