Monday, 18 February 2008

Sons of Ham

Ham was the youngest son of Noah.

Sons of Ham(1): Cush(2), Seba(3), Havilah(3), Sabtah(3), Raamah(3), Sheba(4), Dedan(4), Sabteca(3), Mizraim(2), Ludim(3), Anamim(3), Lehabim(3), Naphtuhim(3), Pathrusim(3), Casluhim(3), Philistines(4), Caphtorim(3), Put(2), Canaan(2), Sidon(3), Heth(3), Jebusites(3), Amorites(3), Girgashites(3), Hivites(3), Arkites(3), Sinites(3), Arvadites(3), Zemarites(3), Hamathites(3).

The name Cush occurs frequently in Scripture. It is the region south of Egypt where Sudan and Ethiopia is located. They were a black race. This noted in a verse in Jeremiah,
Can the Cushite change his skin/
or the leopard his spots? (Jeremiah 13)
In the Septuagint the word Cushite is translated Ethiopian, however the region is likely to be more closely aligned to Sudan; essentially south of Aswan in Egypt.

Seba was the ancestor of the Sabeans who dwelt in south Arabia.

The name Havilah appears twice in the Table of Nations, the other is a Semitic tribe. The same name occurring in genealogical tables (in general) may suggest that descendants of both men lived in a similar area and possibly intermarried to become a single tribe. Bill Cooper thinks that in the case of Havilah however there were 2 distinct tribes living in different regions of Arabia.

Sabtah was the ancestor of the Hadhramaut people in southern Arabia.

Raamah's descendants were probably another Arabian tribe.

The nation of Sheba existed in southern Arabia in the area of Yemen. Though some claim this is the kingdom from whence came the queen of Sheba, a better case can be made for Queen (of) Sheba being an Egyptian.

Dedan dwelt in west Arabia. Interestingly Abraham several years later had a son called Jokshan by his wife Keturah whom Abraham took after Sarah's death. Abraham sent his other sons eastward as it was Isaac who was to inherit the land of Canaan. Jokshan is also named as the father of Sheba and Dedan. Presumably these Semites joined the Hamitic tribes. If this is not the case Jokshan's tribes may have got their name by dwelling in the same region as the Hamites. If the first suggestion is correct, then it would seem reasonable than the tribal blending occurred while Sheba and Dedan lived in close proximity with subsequent migration of the tribe(s) apart to their new locations.

Sabteca's descendants also dwelt in Arabia. In the area of modern day Yemen.

So Cush was the ancestor of several tribes that dwelt in Arabia, though his other descendants, who took his name, migrated to Africa.

Mizraim is unequivocally Egypt. Egypt is called Misr by its citizens. Mizraim is mentioned multiple times in the Bible. How closely the modern inhabitants are related to the ancient dynasties given the interactions of Egypt with its neighbours over the centuries would make for interesting research.

The Ludim (not to be confused with the Semitic Lud) are thought to have migrated to Libya in northern Africa, east of Egypt. Note that the Ludim are descendants of Mizraim. A possible inference that they migrated from Babel to Egypt as Mizraim and a tribe broke off and shifted west.

The people of Anamim are not well identified. The land of Anami was adjacent to the land of Caphtor, another descendant of Mizraim. Anami was probably located at Cyrene in the east of Libya.

The Lehabim are sparsely mentioned in ancient texts.

The Naphtuhim are mentioned in some Egyptian writings as dwelling in the Nile delta.

The Pathrusim possibly dwelt in Upper (ie. south) Egypt.

The Casluhim are little known though they are the ancestors of the Philistines.

The Philistines are well documented in the Bible from the time of Abraham. They dwelt in the Gaza region in Palestine. Palestine is clearly etymologically related to Philistine.

The land of Caphtor where the Caphtorim lived is frequently identified with Crete. This however is incorrect. Cretans spoke an Indo-European language and thus were Japhetic, they were likely descended from Javan whose sons colonised the regions of the Aegean Sea. The Caphtorim initially dwelt adjacent to the Anamim as mentioned above. The Targum (Aramaic) gives them the name Caphutkia which is identified with Pelusium, the eastern region of the Nile delta. The Captorim subsequently migrated (or some of them) to Gaza:
As for the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and settled in their place. (Deuteronomy 2)
This raises the question of whether they intermingled with the Philistines (see Jeremiah 47). But based on the migration of the Caphtorim, their identity in the Targums, the location of the Anamim, the locations the other descendants of Mizraim settled in, and that they were involved in the Ethiopic War; it is almost certain they settled in north-east Africa.

So Mizraim and his sons settled along the Nile and the southern coast of the Mediterranean.

Put was probably in the area of Libya near Cyrene.


Canaan was in the area of the Levant. Numbers mentions the Canaanites dwelling by the sea and next to the Jordan.

Sidon dwelt adjacent to the Mediterrean. The city of Sidon was well known in Biblical times and is often mentioned in conjunction with Tyre. The Sidonians are identified as the Phoneticians.

Heth is probably the father of the Hittites. They are mentioned frequently in the Bible. A dynasty that dwelt in Turkey was identified with the Hittites due to a similarity in name. While the latter group is now universally referred to as the Hittite nation in the English language, there is good reason to suspect the original identification was incorrect and the Hittites of the Bible are very unlikely to be the Hittites of Anatolia. The latter spoke an Indo-European language while the sons of Heth spoke a Semitic one. They almost certainly dwelt in the Levant and were a smaller tribe. Further confirmation can be seen in the report brought back by the spies sent into Canaan by Moses:
The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan. (Numbers 13)
The Jebusites occupied at least Jerusalem and probably the surrounding hills. David defeated them when he conquered the city.

The Amorites dwelt in the region of Canaan and were defeated by Israel during the conquest. Numbers mentions that Sihon was a king of the Amorites and he dwelt east of the Salt Sea, north of the Arnon River up to the Jabbok River. Another Amorite king, Og, was king of Bashan. His kingdom was north of Sihon's kingdom. Other Amorites dwelt in the hill country west of the Jordan. Joshua mentions 5 kings in the west: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. Given that the inhabitants of Jerusalem at time of Joshua were the Jebusites, they may have dwelt there with the Amorites, or more likely, Amorite may have become a more general term for many tribes in Canaan.

Cooper places the Girgashites east of the Jordan river.

The Hivites dwelt under Hermon in the land of Mizpah (Numbers 21). Hermon is north of the Sea of Chinnereth. The Gibeonites who made a treaty with Israel were Hivites.

The Arkites dwelt in region that is currently called Akkar in Lebanon.

The Sinites settled near the Arkites.

The Arvadites dwelt on the island of Arwad approximately 3 km west of the Syrian Coast.

The Zemarites dwelt near where the city of Tripoli, Lebanon is located.

The Hamathites lived in the region that still bears their name Hamat, which is a city in the north of modern day Lebanon.

This is more detailed map of the sons of Canaan, the son of Ham.

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