After the flood, people stayed in one area until God confused their languages at Babel, whereupon they began to disperse across the world. In general, the descendants of Japheth spread North, West, and East from Babel, into parts of Europe, Asia, and the Americas; the descendants of Ham spread south and east, into Africa, southeast Asia, and Australia; and the descendants of Shem remained around the Middle East and spread into Europe.
Genesis Chapter 10
10:1 Now this is the history of the generations of the sons of Noah and of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood.
10:2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. 10:3 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. 10:4 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 10:5 Of these were the islands of the nations divided in their lands, everyone after his language, after their families, in their nations.
10:6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. 10:7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. 10:8 Cush became the father of Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth. 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before Yahweh. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before Yahweh.” 10:10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 10:11 Out of that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, 10:12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (the same is the great city). 10:13 Mizraim became the father of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, 10:14 Pathrusim, Casluhim (which the Philistines descended from), and Caphtorim.
10:15 Canaan became the father of Sidon (his firstborn), Heth, 10:16 the Jebusite, the Amorite, the Girgashite, 10:17 the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite, 10:18 the Arvadite, the Zemarite, and the Hamathite. Afterward the families of the Canaanites were spread abroad. 10:19 The border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as you go toward Gerar, to Gaza; as you go toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, to Lasha. 10:20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, in their nations.
10:21 To Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, to him also were children born. 10:22 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. 10:23 The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. 10:24 Arpachshad became the father of Shelah. Shelah became the father of Eber. 10:25 To Eber were born two sons. The name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided. His brother’s name was Joktan. 10:26 Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 10:27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 10:28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 10:29 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were the sons of Joktan. 10:30 Their dwelling was from Mesha, as you go toward Sephar, the mountain of the east. 10:31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, after their nations.
10:32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations. Of these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
People Groups Corresponding to Biblical Nations
Descendants of Japheth
7 sons, 7 grandsons in the Table of Nations
- Gomer: Austro-Asiatic peoples, Austronesians, Kradai peoples, Formosans, Tibeto-Burmans, Japonic and Korean peoples, Finno-Ugrians, Samoyeds, and Turkic peoples.
- Ashkenaz: Vietnamese, Cambodians, Thais, Laotians, Taiwanese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos, Tibetans, Burmese, Japanese, and Koreans.
- Riphath: Finns, Sámi (Lapps), Estonians, Karelians, Livonians, Hungarians, Ostyaks, and Voguls.
- Togarmah: Turks, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, Turkmen, Uzbeks, and Kyrgyz.
- Magog: Han Chinese, Mongols, Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Samoyeds, Yupiks, Inuits, Aleuts, and American Indians.
- Madai: Medes, Iranians, Caspians, Indians, and the Kachin people of Myanmar.
- Javan: Ancient Aegeans, Javanese, Polynesians, Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
- Tubal: Russians, Siberians, Georgians, Albanians, and Basques.
- Meshech: Russians, Muscovites (the region of the Meschera Lowlands), Georgians, Phrygians, and Cappadocians.
- Tiras: Ancient Thracians, Minoans (?), Yonaguni, and American Indians.
Descendants of Shem
5 sons, 5 grandsons mentioned in the Table of Nations
- Elam: Elamites, Persians, and Iranians.
- Asshur: Assyrians, Syrians, and Northern Iraqis.
- Arpachshad: Akkadians / Babylonians, Eblaites, Chaldaeans, Hurrians, Urartians, Pelasgians, Indo-Europeans, Irano–Afghans, Arabs, and Jews.
- Eber: Hebrews and Iberians
- Peleg: Pelasgians, Greeks, Iberians, and Italic peoples
- Joktan: Various Arab and Indian peoples
- Almodad: Yemenis (Al Mudad), possibly also in Dalmatia (Dalmata).
- Sheleph: Yemenis (Es Sulaf), Bactrians
- Hazarmaveth: Hadhrami Yemenis (Hadhramaut), Iranians, Sarmatians
- Jerah: Himyarite Yemenis (Jerakh)
- Hadoram: Hadhrami Yemenis (Hadhramaut) and Saudi Arabians (Hejaz containing Mecca and Medina).
- Uzal: Yemenis (Azal, the pre-Islamic name of Sana’a) and Moroccans (Azila)
- Diklah: Yemenis (Dikla), Iraqis (Tigris River), and Pakistanis (Gedrosia).
- Obal: Omanis (Wibal tribe), Eritreans (Avalites), possibly also near the River Elbe (Obalus)
- Abimael: Iranians (Hyrcanians)
- Sheba: Yemenis (Sabaeans)
- Ophir: Indians, possibly Soupara in the region of Goa.
- Havilah: Yemenis and Ethiosemitic peoples of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti.
- Jobab: Saudi Arabians (Juhaibab)
- Eber: Hebrews and Iberians
- Lud: Lydians, Nuragians (Sardinians), Tyrrhenians, Etruscans, Illyrians, Albanian Tosks, Armenians, Georgians, and Kabyles, and other related groups in Asia Minor, Europe, and North Africa.
- Aram: Aramaeans, Syrians, Lebanese, Armenians, and remnant groups throughout the Middle East.
Descendants of Ham
4 sons, 24 grandsons, 2 great-grandsons mentioned in the Table of Nations,
- Cush:, Black Africans, Bushmen, Pygmies, Australian Aborigines, Papuans, Melanesians, and Dravidians.
- Seba: Sabaeans, Eritreans, Black Africans, Dravidians, and Roma people (“Gypsies”).
- Havilah: Yemenis, Djiboutians, Melanesians, Papuans, and Australian Aborigines.
- Sabtah: Hadhrami Yemenis, Mahra, Astaborans, Ethiopians, and the Sab tribe in East Africa.
- Raamah: Ragmeans, Minaeans, Black Africans, and Indians.
- Sabteca: Sabactens of southern Yemen, the Tedas in East Africa and Todas in India.
- Nimrod: Babel, Uruk, Akkad, Calneh, Nineveh, Resen, Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah.
- Mizraim: Egyptians, Copts, Berbers, and Philistines.
- Phut: Berbers, Libyans, Cyrenacians, Tunisians, Somalians, Sudanese, and North Africans.
- Canaan: Canaanites, Phoenicians, Lebanese, Cypriots, and Maltese people.
- Sidon: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Cypriots.
- Heth: Hattians, Hittities, Siouan-Catawban and Iroquoian Indians.
- Jebus: Mixed with Palestinians.
- Amor: Moors.
- Gergash: Albanian Ghegs and Caspians.
- Hivi: Mexican and Guatemalan Indians.
- Arka: Arikara Indians and other Caddoan Indians.
- Sin: Mixed with Chinese and Murrayian Aboriginals.
- Arvad: Mixed with Malays or Burmese.
- Zemar: Indonesians and Filipinos.
- Hamath: Emathians.
Haran had one known son and two daughters:
The sons of Lot, the son of Haran:
The sons of Ishmael—Arab nations (Arab means “mixed” in Hebrew. They mixed with numerous other nations as is implied by the other genealogies. Multiple people groups clearly lived and must have mixed together around Arabia and Mesopotamia).
Prophecy concerning Ishmael
7 Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
9 The Angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10 Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 11 And the Angel of the LORD said to her:
“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the LORD has heard your affliction.’
12 He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.