Japheth Orientalium

Chapter II

Japheth is the eldest son of Noah and we learn important aspects about him, in Genesis 9:27, English Standard Version:

May God enlarge [H6601 – pathah] Japheth, and let him dwell [H7931 – shakan] in the tents [H168 – ‘ohel] of Shem…”

Israel a history of – emphasis theirs: 

‘The word “enlarge” is an unusual translation of the Hebrew word Pathah. Pathah is not the word normally used for “enlarge”, and in this instance, “enlarge” does not signify a geographical enlargement. Rachab would be the word used to convey a geographical enlargement. Instead, Pathah typically is translated as “entice”, or “persuade”. It is derived from the Hebrew word Pathach, which means “to make open”. However, this verse is the only instance in the Bible where the form Pathah occurs, and it has been agreed upon by linguists and scholars to be translated as “enlarge”.’

The Hebrew word Pathah means: ‘to entice, deceive, persuade’ or ‘seduce.’ The wider application includes: ‘to be spacious, open, be wide.’ The King James Version mainly translates the word as entice [10 times], deceive [8] and enlarge, only once.

The New English Translation:

May God enlarge Japheth’s territory and numbers! May he live in the tents of Shem…

‘Footnotes: The words “territory and numbers” are supplied in the translation for clarity. There is a wordplay (paronomasia) on the name Japheth. The verb (yaft, “may he enlarge”) sounds like the name (yefet, “Japheth”). The name itself suggested the idea. The blessing for Japheth extends beyond the son to the descendants. Their numbers and their territories will be enlarged, so much so that they will share in Shem’s territories… it is not clear what it would mean for Japheth to live in Shem’s tents… there is no reason in this context to expect Japheth to be blessed at the expense of Shem and occupy his territory… it would make more sense for it to mean that Japheth would participate in the blessings of Shem, but that is not clear for this phrase.’

The root of Yepheth [Japheth] is pathah, ‘to make wide.’ Thus the verse could read: ‘May God enlarge enlarged and let him dwell…’

Abarim Publications explain Japheth in Hebrew as: ‘formless expansion, enlarged, magnified, may he expand.’ It derives from the verb pata, ‘to grow bigger…’ and ‘appears to describe the process of slowly but surely growing wider… Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Enlargement [and the] NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Wide Spreading.’

The Hebrew word for dwell is shakan, meaning: ‘to settle down, abide, reside, establish’ – the idea of lodging. The KJV uses the word dwell the most [92 times]. The word for tents is ‘ohel, meaning: ‘tabernacles [198], tents [141], dwelling [2].’

A selection of Bible translations state the verse as follows:

Amplified Bible: May God enlarge [the land of] Japheth…

Easy to read version: May God give more land to Japheth…

International Standard Version: May God make room for Japheth…

The Message: God prosper Japheth, living spaciously in the tents of Shem.

The Voice: May God make plenty of room for Japheth’s family and give them homes among Shem’s tents.

My choice for best describing the intent, is the Good News Translation: May God cause Japheth to increase! May his descendants live with the people of Shem! 

As pathah is used in a unique context in this verse, it is difficult not to ascribe a geographical aspect to its intention, as it is associated with the second part of the verse, of dwelling within Shem. It would seem that the word is conveying more than just an enlargement and hinting at the method of that growth, through some form of deception or stealth.

This verse references Japheth’s posterity enlarging in population and though not intimating geography specifically it is indirectly, as Japheth is to encroach on Shem’s descendants territories via immigration. Japheth is increasing in prosperity, giving them the opportunity to share the economic benefits afforded, in dwelling in the prosperous nations descended from Shem.

Thus Genesis 9:27 is a remarkable prophecy, as it succinctly describes Japheth’s descendants accurately, in our very age. They are enlarging within the borders of Shem’s descendants at a phenomenal rate. So much so, that the demographic status of certain nations is changing rapidly before our very eyes. We will look at figures to support this trend when we study Shem and his sons.

I propose Noah’s eldest son Japheth, represents the vast array of peoples of Oriental or Asiatic descent; the Asians of Central, East and South East Asia, Polynesia, as well as the Indigenous Amerindians located in the Americas.

The Book of Jubilees provides information on the early settlement of south Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Book of Jubilees chapter eight:

10 And it came to pass… that they divided the earth into three parts, for Shem and Ham and Japheth, according to the inheritance of each… 11 And [Noah] called his sons, and they drew nigh to him, they and their children, and he divided the earth into the lots, which his three sons were to take in possession, and they reached forth their hands, and took the writing out of the bosom of Noah, their father… 25 And for Japheth came forth the third portion beyond the river Tina to the north of the outflow of its waters, and it extends north-easterly to the whole region of Gog, and to all the country east thereof. 26 And it extends northerly to the north, and it extends to the mountains of Qelt towards the north, and towards the sea of Ma’uk, and it goes forth to the east of Gadir as far as the region of the waters of the sea. 27 And it extends until it approaches the west of Fara and it returns towards ‘Aferag, and it extends easterly to the waters of the sea of Me’at [the Pacific Ocean]. 28 And it extends to the region of the river Tina in a north-easterly direction until it approaches the boundary of its waters towards the mountain Rafa, and it turns round towards the north. 29 This is the land which came forth for Japheth and his sons as the portion of his inheritance which he should possess for himself and his sons, for their generations forever; five great islands [in the Mediterranean Sea], and a great land in the north [Central and East Asia]. 30 But it is cold, and the land of Ham is hot [African Continent], and the land of Shem [Mesopotamia and Arabia] is neither hot nor cold, but it is of blended cold and heat.

The principal mtDNA [maternal] haplogroups associated with Japheth’s descendants include:

Haplogroup A – found in Indigenous Americans as well as Asians.

Haplogroup B – one of the principal East Asian lineages and one of five mitochondrial lineages identified among Indigenous Americans.

Haplogroup C – a descendant of haplogroup M, one of the two major lineages that derive from L3. It is currently found in northeast Asia, and it is considered one of the founding lineages of the Indigenous American population.

Haplogroup D – the principal East Asian lineage. Notable subgroups include D4, which is prevalent among Central Asian peoples, and D1, which is one of the five haplogroups represented among Indigenous Americans.

Haplogroup E – located throughout the islands of Southeast Asia.

Haplogroup F – one of the primary mitochondrial lineages in East and Southeast Asia. Its greatest frequency and sequence diversity is found among coastal Asian populations.

Haplogroup K – certain lineages are found in Central Asia…

Haplogroup L3 – a daughter of mitochondrial Eve. Asian and European haplogroups trace their ancestry to L3.

Haplogroup M – members were among the first humans to migrate east along the southern coasts of Asia.

Haplogroup R – ancient and complex; today its members can be found all over the world, including Central and South Asia.

Haplogroup X – worldwide with a subgroup X2; one of the founding lineages of Indigenous Americans.

Haplogroup Y – associated with Siberian populations. Also found in the Japanese, Korean, and some Southeast Asian populations.

Haplogroup Z – found throughout Asia, with higher levels found in Tibet and Siberia, and lower levels in Japan. A subgroup Z1, is also found among the Finnish Saami, who have both European and Asian ancestry.

The main Y-DNA [paternal] haplogroups associated with Japheth’s descendants is summarised by Leonor Gusmão María BriónIva Gomes, in a Handbook of Analytical Separations, 2008, Global distribution of Y haplogroups:

‘Clade C [is] found in Central Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. C1 lineage is found exclusively in Japan. C2 is found in New Guinea, Melanesia, and Polynesia. C3 lineage is believed to have originated in Southeast or Central Asia, spreading from there into northern Asia, the Americas and Central Europe. C4 appears to be restricted among aboriginal Australians and is dominant in that population. C5 has a significant presence in India.

Haplogroup D appears in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and in Japan, showing the highest frequencies in Tibet and Japan (50% and 35%, respectively).

Haplogroup K is the ancestral haplogroup of major groups L to R, but, in addition, also includes the minor K and K1 to K5 haplogroups, which are present at low frequencies in dispersed geographic regions all around the world.

The highest frequencies of haplogroup M are shown in Melanesia, being restricted to the geographical distribution of Papuan languages.

Lineage O represents nearly 60% of chromosomes in East Asia. The [O2a1 sub-clade] has the highest frequency, being absent outside East Asia. The [O1a] and [O1b sub-clades] appear in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, South China, Japan, and Korea.

Haplogroup Q is found in Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. One of its sub-clades, group [Q1a3a] is… exclusively associated with the Native Americans.’

And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you…”

Ezekiel 40:4 English Standard Version

“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.” 

“If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent.” 

Isaac Newton [1643-1727]

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