Recovering the classic, Protestant interpretation of Bible prophecy.



THE voice of prophecy was not altogether silent in the intervals between the seven successive commencements of human history of which we have spoken. From time to time it gave utterance to isolated predictions such, for example, as that of Enoch about the coming of the Lord with ten thousands of His saints to judge the wickeda very glorious prophecy, yet one which had in view exhortation and warning rather than definite prediction. It was no chart of future events, it did not foretell the course of human history, but only the moral aspects of its final issues. As such detached and hortatory prophecies do not form parts of the program we have to consider, we do not pause to dwell on this utterance of ?the seventh from Adam, ? who was translated that he should not see death.


With the second father of the human family the definitely predictive element reappears. Not only was the approaching end of the antediluvian age made known to Noah not only was he acquainted beforehand with the purpose of God to destroy by a flood the evil generation which had corrupted the earth but he was informed also of the exact chronological distance of the deluge. It was not to overtake the world for a hundred and twenty years: thus far would the longsuffering of God wait, if men would perchance be warned and repent. This is the first chronologic prophecy in the Bible, and it indicated in advance the end of the antediluvian age. We shall see, as we proceed, that all the other chronologic predictions of Scripture similarly throw their light forward to the close of the different ages to which they respectively belong.


Moved with fear the fear born of faith Noah prepared an ark to the saving of his house, and while doing so acted as ?a preacher of righteousness? to the evil generation in whose midst his lot, was cast. His knowledge of the approaching end of the age in which he lived did not make him idle, impracticable, speculative, or despairing; it roused him rather to preach with power and labor with diligence, and it separated him in spirit from the wickedness, the worldliness, and the unbelief of his age. None of the wicked understood, believed, or heeded his warning words. As decade after decade of the last century of the old world rolled away, its millions remained as full as ever of carnal confidence and unbelieving indifference. They were occupied exclusively with earth and its interests agricultural, commercial, social right up to the hour when Noah and his family entered into the ark. The Divine Hand that shut him in, opened at the same time the windows of heaven and broke up the fountains of the great deep; and though its approach had been revealed by God more than a century previously, and though His righteous servant had not failed to proclaim to men the counsel and purpose of the Almighty, ?they knew not until the flood came and took them all away.?


When Noah and his family emerged into the new world, they were wiser than our first parents in paradise. Adam, gazing around him in Eden, may well have inwardly exclaimed as to God, ?He can create?, but Noah, doing the same from Ararat, must surely have added, ?He can destroy.? Sorely must the second father of the human race have needed the light of promise and of prophecy at the solemn crisis when he and his stood amid the wreck of the old world the sole survivors of a perished race. Events had forced upon them a vivid realization of the solemn fact that the great Creator would actually destroy the works of His own hands, rather than permit the victory of moral evil. It was a terrible revelation, for did not they too belong to the sinful race? What was to be their future and that of their posterity? Must they anticipate a recurrence of the late awful catastrophe? Oh, how they needed the sure word of prophecy as a lamp to shine in the dark place where they stood! The wrath of God seemed to have recalled His gift of the earth to the sons of men. Dared they take possession of this new earth as Adam had done of the old? Evil might and probably would fill the world afresh, and what then was their tenure to be?


Never did trembling mariners launching on a stormy and unknown ocean more need the compass, pilot, and daylight, than did the prisoners of the ark when they first alighted on Ararat need the guidance of Divine promise. And hence, as might be expected, the grace that had saved speedily reassured their fearful hearts: God set His bow of promise in the cloud, and prophecy witnessed the reflection of her beams of light from the retiring waters. A covenant of mercy gave them a new charter of natural blessings, and a new grant of dominion in the earth. A second time was the human family commanded to multiply and replenish all its waste places. The word of promise soothed the fears of the rescued; no recurrence of a deluge was to be apprehended. Seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, were not again to be interrupted in their natural sequence; and four thousand years have proved God?s faithfulness to His promise. The Noahic covenant is our present lease of the earth. According to its terms, God legislates for the winds and waves, the sunbeams and the storm clouds, so as to secure to man the indispensable order of the seasons.


?The great circle of the heavens apparently described by the sun every year (owing to our revolution round that body) is called the ecliptic... The plane of the earth?s equator, extended towards the stars, marks out the equator of the heavens, the plane of which is inclined to the ecliptic at an angle... known as the obliquity of the ecliptic. It is this inclination which gives rise to the vicissitudes of the seasons during our annual journey round the sun... The obliquity of the ecliptic is now slowly decreasing at the rate of about 48? in 100 years. ?It will not always, however, be on the decrease; for before it can have altered 1½ N, the cause which produces this diminution must act in a contrary direction, and thus tend to increase the obliquity. Consequently the change of obliquity is a phenomenon in which we are concerned only as astronomers, since it can never become sufficiently great to produce any sensible alteration of climate on the earth?s surface. A consideration of this remarkable astronomical fact cannot but remind us of the promise made to man after the deluge, that ?while the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.? That the perturbation of obliquity consisting merely of an oscillatory motion of the plane of the ecliptic will not permit of its inclination ever becoming very great or very small, is an astronomical discovery in perfect unison with the declaration made to Noah, and explains how effectually the Creator has ordained the means for carrying out His promise, though the way it was to be accomplished remained a hidden secret until the great discoveries of modern science placed it within human comprehension.? ?(Chambers? ? Handbook of Descriptive Astronomy, ? p. 73.)


The promises and predictions that followed the flood were of a cheering and merciful nature, and exactly calculated to restore in the hearts of those who had witnessed the evil effects of the fall, and seen a guilty race whelmed in the darkness and death of the deluge, hope, courage, and confidence in God. No threats, no conditions were attached to the gracious covenant of which the rainbow is the beautiful and abiding token. It should be noted here that the promise of redemption was not renewed in the Noahic covenant, because nothing that had happened had in the slightest degree invalidated it. It stood as before; and Noah and his family evinced their acquaintance with it by offering sacrifice. They doubtless prized it in the new earth as they had ever done in the old, for the dark background of judgment and perdition must have made more precious than ever the hope of redemption and deliverance.


We must not pause to dwell at any length on these early Noahic predictions, the fulfillment of which has been a matter of experience to the human race for four thousand years. We must pass on rather to those given at a later point in the life of the patriarch Noah, which partake more of the nature of a program of the world?s history-


Just as it was subsequently granted to Jacob and to Moses to foresee and to foretell the future of the different tribes of Israel, so to Noah, the second father of the human race, it was given towards the close of his long life of nine hundred and fifty years, to foresee and foretell the future of the races that should descend from him, by whom the whole earth should in due time be overspread. We have no means of fixing the exact date of the very remarkable prophecy in which he does this.#Ge 9:24-29. Owing to its position as the first recorded incident after the flood, it is often taken for granted that it followed closely upon that event; but there is really no ground for this assumption. It is the only incident mentioned in the subsequent life of the patriarch; indeed, with the exception of the death of Noah, the only incident recorded between the flood and the building of Babela period of many centuries. Its place in the narrative is therefore no guide to its actual date, nor to its position in the life of Noah. If it occurred as early as is generally supposed, then Noah?s grandson Canaan is mentioned before he was born, or had done good or evil; which is most unlikely. On the other hand, if it shortly preceded the event next following in the record the death of Noah then the parallel with the cases of Jacob and Moses is close, and an additional solemnity and importance attaches to the prediction.


Further, this memorable utterance of the great preacher of righteousness must never be regarded as the imprecation of a curse and the bestowal of blessings, much less as if the words had been prompted by any angry or vindictive feeling on Noah?s part against his youngest son. A thoughtless reading of the narrative might produce such an impression on the mind, but reflection will show it to be an unworthy and wholly groundless one. The words were, as their fulfillment proves, an inspired prophecy, not an imprecation the future of each race is not so much assumed as foretold; and the good or bad destiny in each case is connected not so much with the moral character of Shem, Ham, and Japhet personally, as with that of their descendants in distant ages, all whose deeds lay even then naked and open before the eyes of the revealing Spirit of God. The incident in connection with which the prophecy was given was not in any sense the cause of the destinies declared, though it gave occasion to the utterance of the prediction. The prophet speaks of races, not of individuals, as Isaac spoke of the future of Jacob?s and Esau?s descendants, rather than of their own personal experience. The portion foreseen for each was not merited by the parents? conduct only or mainly, but by the character and conduct of their unborn posterity. Such oracles are far removed from the nature of private fortune-telling; they are utterances given by inspiration of God. As Bishop Newton well observes on this passage: ?Noah was not prompted by wine or by resentment, for neither the one nor the other could infuse the knowledge of futurity or inspire him with the prescience of events which happened hundreds, nay thousands, of years afterwards. But God, willing to manifest His superintendence and government of the world, endued Noah with the spirit of prophecy, and enabled him in some measure to disclose the purposes of His providence towards the future races of mankind.?


The points emphasized in Noah?s foreview of human history are few but important. The predictions are brief and clearly expressed. There is no indistinctness about them, no vague wording which might apply equally well to any course of events. Like the predictions in paradise, the sentences though simple contain a world of meaning, are all inclusive in their scope, and reach right on to the end. On the other hand, they differ from them widely in their subject-matter, dealing not with the moral issues, fundamental physical experiences, or final results of human history, but rather with the great ethnological divisions of the race, with the distinctive fortunes of its three main sections, and with their relations to each other.


The program of Noah presents the future not of the race of mankind as a whole as did the Adamic foreview; nor that of individual kingdoms and nations as do subsequent programs but that of the three main races into which mankind has been divided since the flood. The destiny foreseen for each race is sharply defined, and widely distinct from that foreseen for the other two. Thousands of years of human history have elapsed since this wonderful prophetic utterance: if therefore the prophecy has been falsified by the event, it will be futile to deny it; and if, on the other hand, it has been fulfilled, there can be no mistake about the fact, which must be capable of full demonstration.


In our Authorized Version the prediction runs thus ?And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.


?And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.


?God shall enlarge Japhet, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.? {#Ge 9:25, 26, 27}


Now the first question which arises in considering this prediction is, Why is Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, mentioned instead of his father, whose gross misconduct, evincing his depraved moral character, afforded the occasion for the prophecy? There is some ground to think that we have not here the true original reading of the passage, that a copyist?s error has obscured it, and that the two words, ?Ham abi? (Ham the father of), have been omitted. Some copies of the Septuagint and the Arabic Version give these words as the text. Their insertion would certainly give the passage far more internal consistency, as well as bring it into fuller harmony with other Scriptures. As it stands, it does not include all the posterity of Noah, but leaves entirely unmentioned nearly one-third of it that of all the sons of Ham, with the exception of Canaan. Bishop Newton says, in speaking of this passage;


?Hitherto we have explained the prophecy according to the present copies of our Bible ; but if we were to correct the text, as we should that of any classic author in a like case, the whole might he made easier and plainer. ?Ham, the father of Canaan.? is mentioned in the preceding part of the story; and how then came the person of a sudden to be changed into Canaan? The Arabic version in these three verses hath ?the father of Canaan, ? instead of ?Canaan.? Some copies of the Septuagint likewise have Ham instead of Canaan, as if Canaan were a corruption of the text. Vatablus and others by ?Canaan? understand ?the father of Canaan, ? which was expressed twice before. And if we regard the metre, this line, ?Cursed he Canaan, ? is much shorter than the rest, as if something was deficient. May we not suppose therefore that the copyist by mistake wrote only ?Canaan, ? instead of? Ham the father of Canaan, ? and that the whole passage was originally thus ?And Ham the father of Canaan saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.... And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Ham the father of Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Ham the father of Canaan shall be servant to them. God shall enlarge Japhet; and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Ham the father of Canaan shall be servant to them.?


?By this reading all the three sons of Noah are included in the prophecy, whereas otherwise Ham, who was the offender, is excluded. or is only punished in one of his children. Ham is characterized as ?the father of Canaan? particularly, for the greater encouragement of the Israelites, who were going to invade the land of Canaan; and when it is said, ?Cursed he Ham the father of Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren, ? it is implied that his whole race was devoted to servitude, but particularly the Canaanites. Not that this was to take effect immediately, but was to be fulfilled in process of time, when they should forfeit their liberties by their wickedness.? ?Newton on the Prophecies, ? p. ii.


There is a possibility that Ham alone was mentioned in the original prophecy, and that the allusion to his being ?the father of Canaan? was introduced by Moses in view of the approaching invasion of the land of Canaan by the Israelites, to encourage them hopefully to undertake the subjugation of its seven nations, by recalling the fact that it had long since been predicted that the descendants of Ham, including these wicked Canaanites, should be their servants. But that the prophecy spoke of the Canaanites exclusively is not likely, or even credible. As it correctly predicts the future of all the descendants of Ham, not that of those of his fourth son merely or mainly, it is most improbable that Canaan alone was mentioned.


It is true that in the parallel prophecy of Moses the name of Joseph does not occur, but those of his sons Ephraim and Manasseh do: so that the prophecy of Moses covered the entire posterity of Jacob. Moreover, it was Ham?s misconduct, not Canaan?s, that was the occasion, though not the causeof the delivery of this oracle. How highly improbable then that his name should be omitted from it! The Jews have a tradition that it was the young Canaan who first saw his grandfather?s exposed condition, and called his father to join him in ridiculing and mocking the aged patriarch. There is, however, nothing but traditional evidence for this story; and even if it were true, it would account only for a mention of both father and son, and not for the exclusive naming of the son, as in our text. Whichever view be taken as to the text, it makes however no difference as to the fulfillment of the prophecy. If the original prediction was worded as in our version, it has been abundantly fulfilled, as we shall show; and if Ham was mentioned as well as, or instead of, his son, it has been fulfilled still more conspicuously on a wider sphere and through a longer period. We lean to the view that all the three sons of Noah were mentioned, and that thus the future of the entire human race was outlined in this second program of the world?s history.


It contains several distinct points. First, it implies that each of Noah?s sons would become the father of a race. This might have been otherwise, as one of them might, like Abel, have been cut off and have left no issue. Secondly, it states that the descendants of Ham were to be servants to their brethren. Servile subjection, including various forms of slavery, would be their specially characteristic portion, though there might, of course, be exceptions to the rule, which would only tend to prove its general prevalence; that the race would be servants of servants to their brethren is thrice over asserted. Thirdly, it states that a peculiarly sacred character would be connected with the descendants of Shem, that Jehovah would be in some special sense the Lord God of Shem. The passage must not be read as an invocation, as it sometimes is, as if it were ?Blessed of Jehovah my God be Shem.? It is an ascription of praise, ?Blessed be Jehovah-Elohim of Shem!? implying that the one living and true God would be the God of Shem?s descendants, or, as Luther puts it, that Shem should enjoy ?a most abundant blessing, reaching its highest point in the promised seed.? The name Shem means ?renown?; and the prophecy shows that the exaltation and renown of his seed would depend rather on spiritual and religious advancement than on mere political prosperity. That it is the race of Shem, and not he himself personally, that is contemplated by the prophecy, is intimated in the plural pronoun, ?Canaan shall be their servant, ? not his servant. Ham?s descendants would be in tributary subjection to Shem?s descendants. Fourthly, it is stated that the race of Japhet, Noah?s eldest son, whose name means ?the one that spreads abroad, ? should be the most widely diffused and, as regards material blessings, the most prosperous of the three; that God would greatly multiply it, and open to it vast spheres. The words have been rendered, ?God will concede an ample space? to Japhet?s posterity, or ?make wide room? for them. So great was to be this enlargement of Japhet that his descendants would ultimately not only occupy all their own tents, or dwelling-places, but inhabit also some of those belonging to Shem; and though it is not distinctly stated in the prediction, yet there is nothing in the words to exclude the thought that the enlargement of Japhet may include vast intellectual as well as material development, and that his descendants were to dwell in the tents of Shem in this sense also, i.e. to enter into their spiritual and religious inheritance. Japhet?s race, like Shem?s, was also to hold in subjection Hamitic races.


Thus the patriarch, gazing down the dim vista of ages then unborn, and extending his view even to our own day, beheld with eyes opened by the revealing Spirit, the future of his threefold family. He who in retrospect could recall the history of the first human race, with its tragic close, was allowed in prospect to foresee the main outline of the fortunes of the second family of man his own family. And what did he foresee? For the Semitic races religious supremacy and sacred renown; for Japhet?s posterity vast enlargement and political supremacy; and for the descendants of Ham, the father of Canaan, servile degradation.


We must not omit to note, in passing, the important practical lesson taught by the fact that the evil races for whom the doom of perpetual servitude is foreseen are the descendants of a bad man. A straw shows which way the stream runs; the incident here recorded of Ham is trivial in one sense, yet it clearly shows what manner of man he was destitute of the fear of God, without natural affection, gratitude, reverence, compassion, self-respect, or decency; full of heartless levity, addicted to coarse amusement and brutal vulgarity; in short, a bad son who could never make a good father. It is a solemn thought for parents that they cannot help transmitting to their offspring of the most distant generations, their own moral character as well as their own physical features.


Now it is evident that before we can trace the fulfillment of this prophecy, we must to some extent divide the races of mankind, both ancient and modern, into ethnic groups, distinguish the families of nations apart each from the other, ascertain which sprang from Shem, which from Ham, and which from Japhet. The question consequently arises, Are there in existence such materials as enable us to disentangle the complex ramifications of the genealogical tree of the human race during the last four thousand years, so as to arrive at satisfactory conclusions on this subject? If not, it must of course be impossible to demonstrate that the Noahic program has been fulfilled.


The reply is, There are, in the good providence of God, ample materials in existence for this preliminary inquiry a rich and ever-increasing abundance; and so well have these materials been utilized of late by scholars that the main questions connected with this difficult problem are practically set at rest. Many a minor point may still remain obscure. There are certain tribes and peoples, both of ancient and modern times, whose ethnic relations may be doubtful, but the outline is clearly ascertained, and details do not affect our argument. The sources of information are: the wonderful genealogical table in the tenth of Genesis, and other Bible notices on the subject; the statements and tables of profane historians and other ancient writers, such as Herodotus, Strabo, Josephus, etc.; the hieroglyphic and cuneiform inscriptions on monumental remains and other antiquities, brought to light and deciphered by modern archeological research in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and elsewhere; the ever-multiplying observations and investigations of modern explorers and travellers into the languages, laws, customs, traditions, and ethnic affinities of newly visited tribes and peoples; and last, but not least, the very important and interesting, though somewhat bewildering, young science of language, which, though almost the youngest of the sciences, is yet one which has already secured great acquisitions of knowledge, read some of the puzzling riddles of antiquity and ethnology, and, like all other true science, confirmed in a wonderful way the veracity of Scripture. We must gather and focus a few of the rays proceeding from these various sources on the point we have in hand.


The tenth chapter of Genesis the most ancient genealogical table in existence a wonderful and profoundly interesting document, is our first guide. It is a book in itself, the book of ?the generations of the sons of Noah?; and short as it is, it contains more important matter than many a bulky volume. A careful study of it will show that the first five verses give us the names of the seven sons of Japhet and their descendants; the next, and by far the longest section (verses 6 to 21), mentions the four sons of Ham and the nations which sprang from them, including the Canaanites; while the third and closing section enumerates the five sons of Shem with their posterity, including that family descended from Eber, from which Abraham the Hebrew was ultimately called out. The great value of this ancient record in our present investigation is, that it links the three races of mankind with the geographical spheres which they originally occupied, and from which their first migrations took place.


?It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this ethnological table. Whether regarded from a geographical, a political, or a theocratical standpoint, ?this unparalleled list, the combined result of reflection and deep research, ? is ?no less valuable as a historical document than as a lasting proof of the brilliant capacity of the Hebrew mind.? Undoubtedly the earliest effort of the human intellect to exhibit in a tabulated form the geographical distribution of the human race, it bears unmistakable witness in its own structure to its high antiquity, occupying itself least with the Japhetic tribes which were furthest from the theocratic center, and were latest in attaining to historic eminence, and enlarging with much greater minuteness of detail on those Hamitic nations, the Egyptian, Canaanite, and Arabian, which were soonest developed, and with which the Hebrews came most into contact in the initial stages of their career. It describes the rise of states, and, consistently with all subsequent historical and archeological testimony, gives the prominence to the Egyptian or Arabian Hamites, as the first founders of empires. It exhibits the separation of the Shemites from the other sons of Noah, and the budding forth of the line of promise in the family of Arphaxad. While thus useful to the geographer, the historian, the politician, it is specially serviceable to the theologian, as enabling him to trace the descent of the woman?s seed, and to mark the fulfillments of Scripture prophecies concerning the nations of the earth, In the interpretation of the names which are here recorded, it is obviously impossible in every instance to arrive at certainty, in some cases the names of individuals being mentioned, while in others it is as conspicuously those of peoples.??The Pulpit Commentary, ? p. 156.


From this table we learn


1. That the descendants of Japhet?s seven sons peopled ?the isles of the Gentiles, ? in which expression not islands only are included, but all those countries from which visitors would approach Palestine by sea the coasts of the Mediterranean and the adjoining maritime provinces, the shores of the Black Sea, and of the Caspian, the Levant, Archipelago, and Adriatic.


2. That the four sons of Ham settled in the more southern portions of the then known world in Southern Babylonia round the head of the Persian Gulf, in Southern Arabia, in Abyssinia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and other parts of Northern Africa; and especially that Nimrod, the first founder of imperialism, was descended from Cush, Ham?s eldest son, as well as that the seven nations afterwards expelled by the Jews from the land of promise were the offspring of Canaan, his youngest son.


3. That the five sons of Shem were ancestors of the Syrians, Lydians, Elamites, Arabs, and Hebrews.


Now here we have, as we have said, three ethnic groups linked with three distinct sets of localities; the young nations are mentioned in connection with their respective habitations. In other words, the primary geographical distribution of the descendants of the sons of Noah is plainly indicated in this genealogical table of his posterity. Profane history, as far as it has anything at all clear to say on the subject, adds its confirmation to these statements, and modern discovery and research are producing every year fresh proof of their accuracy.


But Noah?s predictions about his threefold posterity have less to do with their primitive settlements than with their permanent fortunes. The question we must therefore consider next is, whether it is possible clearly to connect these original nations and peoples, first, with their representatives in the ages of subsequent history, and secondly, with their descendants now living? This will evidently be no easy matter. Peoples, tribes, and nations flourish for a time and then fade from view, to reappear afterwards under other names in other connections, and possibly in distant spheres. Nation rises against nation, conquest leads to the subjection of one people to another, to the merging of many into one, or again to the breaking up of one into many. Such political changes have introduced great complexity into the mutual relations of the different peoples of the earth; so that in the course of ages the problem of their ethnic affinities becomes of necessity an exceedingly difficult one. Unless, however, it can to some extent be solved, it is evident that we can never discern the fulfillment of the Noahic program.


We ask then, Have historians been able to do for the existing nations of the earth what Garter King-at-Arms and the College of Heraldry do for the representatives of ancient families trace out their genealogies, establish their relationship by unquestionable evidence, exhibit their connections, and show, not only the line of their own descent, but that of the collateral branches of their families? The answer is, that, to a large extent, they have.


In the first century of our era, for instance, Josephus gives a glance at the problem as it presented itself in his day, eighteen hundred years nearer to the dispersion of mankind than our own, and when consequently it must have been comparatively easy to trace back the genealogy of nations. He says


?Now they were the grand-children of Noah, in honour of whom names were imposed on the nations by those that first seized upon them. Japhet, the son of Noah, had seven Sons. They inhabited so, that, beginning at the mountains Taurus and Amanus, they proceeded along Asia, as far as the river Tanais, and along Europe to Cadiz; and settling themselves on the lands they light upon, which none had inhabited before, they called the nations by their own names. For Gomer founded those whom the Greek now called Galatians (Gauls), but were then called Gomerites. Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians. Now as to Javan and Madai, the sons of Japhet; from Madai came the Madeans, who are called Medes by the Greeks; but from Javan, Jonia (or lonia) and all the Grecians are derived. Thobel founded the Thobelites, which are now called Iberes; and the Moscheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians. There is also a mark of their ancient denomination still to be shown; for there is even now among them a city called Mazaca, which may inform those that are able to understand, that so was the entire nation once called. Thiras also called those whom he ruled over Thiracians; but the Greeks changed the name into Thracians. And so many were the countries that had the children of Japhet for their inhabitants. Of the three sons of Gomer, Aschanaz founded the Aschanasians, who are now called by the Greeks Rheginians. So did Riphath found the Ripheans, now called Paphlagonians; and Thruggramma the Thrugrammeans, who, as the Greeks resolved, were named Phrygians. Of the three sons of Javan also, the son of Japhet, Elisa gave name to the Eliseans, who were his subjects.; they are now the Eolians. Tharsus to the Tharsians, for so was Cicilia of old called; the sign of which is this, that the noblest city which they have, and a metropolis also, is Tarsus, the Tau being by change put for the Theta. Cethimas possessed the island Cethima: it is now called Cyprus; and from that it is that all islands, and the greatest part of the sea-coasts, are named Cethim by the Hebrews; and one city there is in Cyprus that has been able to preserve its denomination; it is called Citius by those who use the language of the Greeks, and has not, by the use of that dialect, escaped the name of Cethim. And so many nations have the children and grand-children of Japhet possessed. Now when I have premised somewhat, which perhaps the Greeks do not know, I will return and explain what I have omitted; for such names are pronounced here after the manner of the Greeks, to please my readers; for our own country language does not so pronounce them.


?The children of HAM possessed the land from Syria and Amanus, and the mountains of Libanus; seizing upon all that was on its sea-coasts, and as far as the ocean, and keeping it as their own. Some indeed of its names are utterly vanished away; others of them being changed, and another sound given them, are hardly to be discovered; yet a few there are which have kept their denominations entire; for of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the name of Cush; for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Cushites. The memory also of the Mesraites is preserved in their name; for all we who inhabit the country (of Judea) call Egypt Mestre, and the Egyptians Mestreans. Phut also was the founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself. There is also a river in the country of the Moors which bears that name; whence it is, that we may see the greatest part of the Grecian historiographers mention that river and the adjoining country by the appellation of Phut. But the name it has now, has been by change given it from one of the sons of Mestraim, who was called Lybyos. We will inform you presently what has been the occasion why it has been called Africa also.


?Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, inhabited the country now called Judea, and called it from his own name Canaan.... Nimrod, the son of Cush, stayed and tyrannised at Babylon, as we have already informed you. Now all the children of Mesraim, being eight in number, possessed the country from Gaza to Egypt, though it retained the name of one only, the Philistim, for the Greeks call part of that country Palestine..


?The sons of Canaan were these; Sidonius, who also built a city of the same name; it is called by the Greeks, Sidon; Amathus inhabited in Amathine, which is even now called Amathe by the inhabitants, although the Macedonians named it Epiphania, from one of his posterity; Arudeus possessed the island Aradus; Arucas possessed Arce, which is in Libanus. But for the seven others (Eucus), Chetteus, Jeboseus, Amorreus, Gergesus, Eudeus, Sineus, Samareus, we have nothing in the sacred books but their names, for the Hebrews overthrew their cities.


?Shem, the third son of Noah, had five sons, who inhabited the land that began at Euphrates, and reached to the Indian Ocean. For Elam left behind him the Elainites, the ancestors of the Persians Ashur lived at the city of Nineve and named his subjects Assyrians, who became the most fortunate nation, beyond others. Arphaxad named the Arphaxadites, who are no called Chaldeans. Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks call Syrians, as Laud founded the Laudites, which are now called Lydians. Of the four sons of Aram, Us founded Trachonitis and Damascus; this country lies between Palestine and Celesyria.... Sala was the son of Arphaxad; and his son was Heber, from whom they originally called the J exvs, Hebrews. Heber begat Joctan and Phaleg: he was called Phaleg or Peleg because he was born at the dispersion of the nations to their several countries; for Phaleg, among the Hebrews, signifies division. Now Joctan, one of the sons of Heber, had these sons.... And this shall suffice concerning the sons of Shem.?


This statement of Josephus and many similar ones might, if space permitted, be presented from both earlier and later historians forms a link between the primitive state of things and the present. It gives us a glance at one of the countless stages by which the young nations enumerated in the tenth of Genesis have been gradually developed in the course of four thousand years into the world full of nations and peoples, civilized and savage, with which we are familiar.


The process has resembled that of organic growth. The Noahic acorn has become an immense and ancient oak, its three main stems having divided into numerous great branches extending in all directions, each giving rise in its turn to countless shoots and twigs bearing generation after generation of leaves. Is it not destined to develop yet into a forest, and to fill many of the myriads of worlds belonging to our own galaxy, with the ransomed race of man?


Josephus modernizes in measure the archaic nomenclature of Genesis. ?The isles of the Gentiles? are seen to include ?Europe and Cadiz, ? Gomer becomes ?the Galatians and the Gauls, ? ?Javan? changes into the Ionians and the Grecians; and instead of a list of names which convey to our modern minds only the most hazy ideas, we get Cappadocians and Thracians, Phrygians or Eolians, the island of Cyprus, the land of Palestine, Egypt, Judea, Persia, the Indian Ocean, the Lydians, the Chaldeans, and the Syrians. Here we see our way, and feel that there can be no insuperable difficulty in connecting the condition of things in Josephus? day with that existing in our own. It might be difficult to recognize in old age a man known only in infancy, but not so if he had been seen at intervals through life. To the uninitiated it may seem that there must be a good deal of guess work and uncertainty in the identification of modern nations with primitive peoples, but the historian who has traced the whole process of development feels that he stands on terra firma, and his conclusions may be accepted with confidence. He begins with the main branches of the oak, and following one till it forks, he traces its divisions down to the latest shoot.


The student of language, on the other hand, adopts the opposite course, and approaches the problem the other way. He examines the languages of existing nations, and traces them backwards to their origin. He finds the latest shoots running into older twigs, these again into small branches, these in their turn to larger ones, and these finally into one or other of the three main stems of the old tree. When the results of historian and philologist agree, we may rest satisfied that they are substantially correct.


But there are multitudes of nations to-day in Central Africa, Asia, Western America, and elsewhere, who have no history, who have sunk so low that, like the arab children of our streets, they do not know where they were born, nor how old they are, nor to whom they belong, and scarcely can tell their own family name. In discovering the birth and parentage, the relationships and affinities of such nations, the science of language is especially helpful. Experience has proved that there is no basis for a classification of the innumerable nations and tribes into which mankind is now divided so broad and so certain as that of language.


?Physical resemblances, or diversities, are not found to present so ultimate a ground of classification as those of the human speech. The Word is the highest outward expression for the soul; and the properties of the immaterial part of man his unconscious instincts, his hopes, his passions, his imaginings, his tendency of thought, his general habit of nature, appearing in language and its forms are transmitted more entirely from generation to generation, and are less liable to he changed by external influences than any features of the face or the body. It is well known that time and external circumstances, and the mingling with other stocks, can change to a considerable degree (how far, is not here in consideration) the color, the hair, the shape of the skull, and the size of the body. Yet after many generations, when the physicist could scarcely, by external signs, recognize the bonds of common blood binding different peoples together, the student of language discerns the clearest and most irrefutable proofs of their common descent. What scholar doubts now the brotherhood of descent, at a remote period, between the Hindu and the Englishman? and yet how few physical ethnologists could discover it by any bodily feature. It is as if the more intangible properties of man?s nature were those most acted upon by the principle of inheritance, and the last to he changed or destroyed by external physical influences.? Brace?s ? Manual of Ethnology, ? p. 3.


Language then, alone or in connection with history, is the clue to the discernment, not of nationality, but of race a far stronger and deeper bond than mere nationality. There is a mysterious, far-reaching influence connected with heredity and conveyed by blood, which associates a distant ancestor with his remotest posterity, and links together by common characteristics the families, tribes, and nations descended from him, marking them off at the same time from all others. It might have been supposed that the mixture of nations which. has taken place all over the world during the last four thousand years, through emigrations, conquests, and colonization, would have so mingled languages that it would now be impossible to distinguish their original character. This is far from being the case. Such agencies have extensively modified language, but research shows that no tongue is ever entirely obliterated by another, and that the primary streams of language, even though they may meet in close contact, never merge into each other, as Norman and Saxon did in the formation of English. These were cognate tongues to begin with, spoken by different families of one race. But where, as in Western Asia at present, three primary languages, belonging to three different races Tartar, Arabic, and Persian co-exist side by side, it is found that no such combination takes place; the three races remaining distinct in speech, as in appearance, character, and habits.


Now, at the furthest point to which history and tradition can conduct us in the past, we discover three prominent families of nations from whom have come down through the ages of history three broad streams of language covering the ancient continents, from which have branched out tile almost innumerable rivulets of speech which now interlace with each other all the world over. They are THE HAMITIC, THE SEMITIC, and THE ARYAN, or INDO-EUROPEAN, families of language. These three, however, do not include all the languages of the world. There is no fourth family, but there is a fourth group the Turanian languages. This large and widely scattered group is less distinctly defined, and its various branches are less distinctly related to each other than are those of the three families above named, though they have some common characteristics. It includes the nomad languages, those which are less settled and more changeable than any others, which have a remarkable facility in assuming new forms and producing rapidly diverging dialects of great irregularity. According to some authorities it includes also the Chinese language, which has been called the most infantile form of human speech, and which seems in some respects to antedate other forms even of Turanian language. But this is one of the unsettled problems of the science, other authorities classing Chinese as Hamitic. The group of so-called ?Turanian? or barbarous tongues will probably be in due time, as a result of further investigation, to a large extent distributed among the three principal families leaving a residuum of dialects which may be degenerate descendants of the mother tongue, from which all languages alike sprung. At present the Turanian group is considered by Professor Max Muller to consist of the Tungusic, Mongolic, Turkic, Samoyedic, Finnic, and aboriginal Indian languages. ?Turanian speech is rather a stage than a form of language. It seems to be the earliest mould into which human discourse naturally and as it were spontaneously throws itself, being simpler, ruder, coarser, and far less elaborate than the later developments of Semitism and Aryanism. It does not, like those tongues, possess throughout its manifold ramifications a large common vocabulary, or even a community of inflections. Common words are exceedingly rare, and inflections, though formed on the same plan, are entirely unlike.... We are not justified in assuming the same original ethnic unity among the various nations whose language is of the Turanian type, which presses upon the mind as an absolute necessity when it examines the phenomena presented by the dialects of the Semitic or of the Aryan stock.?(Rawlinson?s ?Herodotus, ? vol. i. p. 645.)


The ethnological connections of this Turanian group being extremely uncertain, it is evident that it can have no bearing on our present argument. We pass it by consequently, remarking merely that the existence of such a group of miscellaneous unclassified languages affords no presumption against the historical veracity of the statement in the tenth of Genesis, that the human race divided after the flood into three great branches. The genealogies there refer of course to descent by blood and not to linguistic connection. We know that tribes and nations often change their languages, though they cannot alter their ethnic connections. All Jews, for instance, are children of Abraham, no matter what language they may speak; and the Negroes in America do not cease to be Africans because they talk English. In a word, language may or may not be a clue to the ancestry of a people. It needs to be considered in connection with history and geography; taken alone it may be valueless.


In the case of the Turanian nations, where history and geography afford little light, language is an insufficient guide to genealogical connection; while in the case of the three great families of language, their speech forms a principal clue to the relation of the different nations and peoples, leading us to attribute a common descent to some that re now tar separated socially and geographically, though th ir earliest ancestors dwelt under the same roof tree.


The conclusions of ethnologists do not contradict the genealogical table of Genesis x., but confirm it. It asserts that there were three original races. The science of language asserts that there are still three distinct families of nations, but it adds that there are also a number of nations


whose ethnic relations cannot be traced out from historic or linguistic clues. What more natural than that such should be the case after the lapse of four thousand years, and especially with regard to the less important and more uncivilized and remote branches of the human race? New dialects, not to say new languages, spring up even now as a result of isolation and barbarism among peoples who have no literature and hold no public assemblies.


But if the Turanian group throws no light on our subject, the three families of language throw not a little, and we will now proceed briefly to consider them in their order.




The Semitic family is divided into three main branches the Aramaic, the Hebraic, and the Arabic. The Aramaic includes Syriac and Chaldee. The former is still spoken in a corrupt form by the Nestorians and other Christians in Kurdistan and Armenia; and the latter was the language adopted by the Jews in Babylon. After the captivity, Syriac became vernacular in Palestine; it was tile language spoken by our Lord and 1-lis disciples, and was the speech of common life over all the territory extending from the Mediterranean to Mesopotamia. The Hebraic includes the Biblical Hebrew, the language in which the Samaritan Pentateuch was written, and the language of the Carthaginian and Phcenician inscriptions. It was the language of the later Canaanites, though not of the original seven nations of Canaan. The Arabic branch includes the Amharic tongue, the Gees language of Abyssinia, and the ancient Himyaritic inscriptions in Arabia. It includes also the languages spoken along the north of Africa from Egypt and Ethiopia to the Atlantic Ocean.


?Of all the families of man, the Semitic has preserved the most distinet and homogeneous mental characteristics.


?Always, in all its branches, tenacious of the past, conservative, not inclined to change or reform, sensual and strong of passion, yet deeply reverent and religious in temperament, capable of the most sublime acts, either of heroism or fanaticism, it was, from the first, a fit medium for some of the grandest truths and principles which can inspire the human soul. Its very peculiar itiesits tenacity and sensuousness and reverence adapted it to feel and retain and convey Divine inspirations. The Semitic mind was never capable of artistic effort, but has made its great contributions to human knowledge in the invention of the alphabet, and in the exact sciences. In poetry, it has given to the world the most sublime lyrics which human language can present; though in the drama, it has produced only as it were the type or introduction, and in the epic it has contributed nothing. The Semitic races have never shown themselves skilled in colonization even the Phoenician colonies formed no permanent States and they seemed almost as little capable of organizing enduring governments. Individuality has been too strong with them for permanent associated effort.


?In one of their earliest branches the Phoenicians and in the modern Jew, they have manifested a wonderful capacity for traffic and commerce. In the primeval ages, probably no one influence tended so much to unite and civilize mankind as the Semitic commerce and ingenuity under the Phoenicians. The sensuousness and the religious reverence of the race so vividly shown in the Bible history united in the heathen Semites, the tribes of Syria and Asia Minor, to produce a mythology debasing and corrupt beyond what the human imagination has anywhere else brought forth; a mythology which, transplanted to Greece and refined by the Grecian sense of beauty, has poured through all ages a flood of sensual and licentious imaginations, corrupting art and literature almost to the present day.


?Three of the great religions of history Mohammedanism, Judaism, and Christianity have come forth from the Semitic races, and through future time it will be their glory that with all their former vices, and their subsequent degradation, one of their humblest tribes was fitted to receive and was appointed to convey the purest oracles of God to all succeeding generations.?


The influence of the Semites reasserted itself very strongly in the Middle Ages. Under the rule of the Aryan Romans and Byzantines they had been subject and inferior tribes; but ?With the tenacity peculiar to the race, they had still retained, under all the conquests, their national characteristics, and after centuries of submission and quiet they rose again at the call of religious fanaticism, with the same fire and passion which they had shown as Jews, under the Maccabees or against Titus. The foundations for their remarkable conquests were laid by the constant emigration of Arab tribes to Persia and various countries of Asia, whose population became thus gradually much mingled with Semitic elements.


?In 622 Mohammed proclaimed the Semitic doctrine of the unity of God and the peculiar tenets of the Islam faith. Within twenty years vast countries of Europe and Asia were overrun and conquered by his fiery disciples. Syria was subdued from 632 to 638; Persia from 632 to 640; Egypt in 638; Cyprus and Rhodes in 649.


?Within a century the Semitic Moslems had conquered Asia from Mount Taurus to the Himalaya and the Indus, and from the Indian Ocean to Mount Caucasus and the Iaxertes on the north; they held the north of Africa, and after defeating the Teutonic Goths in Spain, took possession of most of that country. They had even invaded France, and seemed about overrunning all Europe, when they were defeated at Tours, in 732, by Charles the Hammer.... Since this brilliant period of conquest, the Semitic family of nations has never again attained to a leading place among the races of men.


?Even as in the ancient days of Semitic glory in Assyria, this race again distinguished itself in the exact sciences and in architecture. Geometry, astronomy, anatomy, and chemistry, all witnessed a revival under the new Arabian civilization; and the Moorish architecture, a product of the sensuous Semitic mind, under the more graceful influences of Byzantine taste, covered Spain with its gorgeous and fantastic structures.


?This family of the human race is distinguished by the peculiar character of the language which it spoke. Those languages, in fact, constitute a group clearly separated from the other leading forms of human speech. The great peculiarity of the group lies in the very structure of its roots, which consist mostly of three consonants, while those of the Aryan and Turanian groups have only one or two. Out of these tri-literal roots the mass of their words were coined by merely varying the vowels, and in some cases by adding a syllable; on the other hand, words formed by composition are almost unknown. The verb has but two tenses, the noun but two genders, and the relations of cases are not, in general, expressed by inflected forms. In the structure of the sentence, the Semitic dialects present little more than a process of addition; words and propositions are placed side by side, and are not subject to the involution and subordination of clauses, so striking in many of the Indo-European tongues.


?In short, these languages have a kind of poetic power, and express passion and feeling with great intensity; but they are lacking in logical precision, deficient in analytical terms, and imperfectly adapted to embody the grandest results of human thought.?


?Long before recorded history, perhaps even before the full formation of their distinctive language, that family of mankind from which the Semitic tribes have come, poured forth its hordes from Asia over the northern portion of Africa. Of these, one vigorous tribe, with the tenacity of the Semitic stock, have held possession of the valleys of the Atlas under all the successive waves of conquest which have passed over Northern Africa. The colonies and conquests of the Phmnicians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Vandals, and the Arabs, have not destroyed or absorbed this tough and warlike people. Pressed farther to the south by the fierce attacks of the Arabs, in the first half of the eleventh century, they could not be driven from the desert; and they hold, now, a larger extent of territory than is occupied by any other race on African soil.? From the Atlantic Ocean, on the west, their tribes extend to the borders of Egypt on the east, and from the Atlas chain on the north over the oases of the Great Desert.


Their traders form the great media of commerce between the Soudan and the Mediterranean coast, ?while their wild and nomad hordes are the special obstacle and danger to the traveller. They are known under the name of Libyans in the most ancient history; their distinguishing features are beheld even on the pictures of Egyptian monuments, and, on the other hand, the most warlike and distinguished of modern military corps is formed originally of their soldiers, the Zowaves.


?The name by which this race is best known is BERBER, a word much disputed, but whose origin may be naturally traced to the Roman name of these people, Barbari.?(Brace?s ? Manual of Ethnology, ? p. 171.)]


The Semitic territory in antiquity included Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Assyria, Susiftna, and the immense deserts of Arabia. The Semites had less tendency to spread abroad in the earth than either of the other great families.


It was not till the thirteenth century before Christ that they began to become prominent; and though at that time their political importance was not great, they soon rose to be the principal commercial and manufacturing people in the world.


They planted commercial stations around the whole length of the Mediterranean, which it took at that time seventy or eighty days to traverse. Their ships brought tin from England, and the luxuries of India from the mouths of the Indus. They had a chain of commercial stations into the interior of Asia, and traded between points as far separated from each other as Babylon and Cadiz, Italy and India, Arabia and Armenia. During tile same period they established the old Assyrian empire on the Upper Tigris, an empire which lasted over six and a half centuries, and held a vast extent of country in subjection, from Suza in Persia to Lower Egypt. The turning point in the history of this empire was the destruction of Sennacherib?s host by pestilence, B.C. 691. It gradually declined after that event, and its great city, Nineveh, fell before an Aryan king, Cyaxares the Mede, in BC. 625. The second Babylonian empire lasted scarcely a century, and the MEDO-PERSIAN empire which followed was the open ing of the Aryan period of history. Cyrus the Persian belonged to the Aryan race; and when his empire fell, the ruling power in the world passed from Asia to Europe.


?What is especially remarkable of the Semitic family is its concentration, and the small size of the district which it covers compared with the space occupied by the other two. Deducting the scattered colonies of the Phoenicians, mere points upon the earth?s surface, and the thin strip of territory running into Asia Minor from Upper Syria, the Semitic races in the time of Herodotus are contained within a parallelogram 1, 600 miles long from the parallel of Aleppo to the south of Arabia, and on an average about 800 miles broad. Within this tract, less than a thirteenth part of the Asiatic continent, the entire Semitic family was then, and, with one exception, has ever since been comprised.


?Once in the world?s history, and once only, did a great ethnic movement proceed from this race and country. Under the stimulus of religious fanaticism, the Arabs in the seventh century of our era burst from the retirement of the desert, and within a hundred years extended themselves as the ruling nation from the confines of India to Spain. But this effort was the fruit of a violent excitement which could not but be temporary, and the development was one beyond the power of the nation to sustain. Arabian influence sank almost as rapidly as it had risen, yielding on the one side before European, on the other before Tartar attacks, and, except in Egypt and Northern Africa, maintaining no permanent footing in the countries so rapidly overrun. Apart from this single occasion, the Semitic race has given no evidence of ability to spread itself either by migration or by conquest. In the Old World, indeed, commercial enterprise led one Semitic people to aim at a wide extension of its influence over the shores of the known seas; but the colonies sent out by this people obtained no lasting hold upon the countries where they were settled, and after a longer or a shorter existence they died away almost without leaving a trace. Semitism has a certain kind of vitality a tenacity of lifeexhibited most remarkably in the case of the Jews, yet not confined to them, but seen also in other instances, as in the continued existence of the Chaldeans in Mesopotamia, and of the Berbers on the North African coast.


?It has not, however, any power of vigorous growth and enlargement, such as that promised to Japhet, and possessed to a considerable extent even by the Turanian family. It is strong to resist, weak to attack, powerful to maintain itself in being notwithstanding the paucity of its numbers, but rarely exhibiting, and never for any length of time capable of sustaining, an aggressive action upon other races. With this physical and material weakness is combined a wonderful capacity for affecting the spiritual condition of our species, by the projection into the fermenting mass of human thought, of new and strange ideas, especially those of the most abstract kind. Semitic races have influenced, far more than any others, the history of the world?s mental progress, and the principal intellectual revelations which have taken place are traceable in the main to them.?




The great Indo-Aryan, or Japhetic family, is so extensive and so varied that we shall best convey a fair idea of it by presenting Professor Max Muller?s own table of its principal members.




1 Rawlinson?s ?Herodotus, ? vol. i. p. 661.





Living Languages. Dead Languages. Classes.


Dialects of India Prakit and Pali Indic SOUTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of the Gipsies Indic SOUTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Persia Parsi - ?Pehlevi? Iranic SOUTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Afghanistan Iranic SOUTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Kurdistan Iranic SOUTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Armenia Old Armenian Iranic SOUTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Ossethi Iranic SOUTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Wales Keltic SOUTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Brittany Keltic SOUTHERN DIVISION




Dialects of Scotland Keltic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Ireland Keltic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of the Isle of Man Keltic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Portugal Italic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Spain Italic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Provence Langue d?Oc Italic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of France Langue d?Oil Italic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Italy Illyric NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Wallachia Hellenic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of the Grisons Hellenic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Albania Doric-Aeolic Hellenic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Greece Attic-Ionic Hellenic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Lithuania Windic NORTHERN DIVISION


?? Old Prussian Windic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dia. of Kurland and Livonia Windic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Bulgaria Old Slavonic Windic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Russia Windic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Poland Windic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Bohemia Old Bohemian Windic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Lusatia Polabian Windic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Germany Old German Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


?? Gothic Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of England Anglo-Saxon Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Holland Old Dutch Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Frisland Old Frlslan Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dia. of North of Germany Old Saxon Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Denmark Old Norse Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Sweden Old Norse Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Norway Old Norse Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION


Dialects of Iceland Old Norse Teutonic NORTHERN DIVISION



It will be seen at a glance that this family of languages comprises most of the ancient and modern languages of Europe, including Greek and Latin and all the Slavonic and Teutonic dialects; in fact, with a few exceptionsthe Finn, the Lapp, the Hungarian, and the Crimean languages all. It comprises also the Indian languages derived from the ancient Sanskrit, though not the Tamil and Telegu tongues, nor the languages of the aboriginal tribes in India, which are Turanian.


The aboriginal races of India belong to the Turanian type, though the Hinduthe leading raceis Aryan. The difference is very marked between the hill-tribes, as they are called, and the Aryans of the plains. The former are despised and outlawed by the Hindus, own no property, seldom cultivate the land, and have institutions and customs wholly different from those of the Hindus. They do not observe caste; their widows are allowed to marry again; they eat flesh and have no objection to the shedding of blood; they indulge freely in intoxicating drinks, do not venerate the Brahmans, and bury their dead instead of burning them. All these things establish decisively that they are of a different origin, and the difference in their language confirms that conclusion. There are a great variety of races among them, but they all differ as widely as possible from the Aryan Hindus, among whom they have dwelt for ages.


The Parsee, the Persian, and the Arminian languages are also Aryan. Though differing so widely among themselves, all these forms of speech, belonging to various and widely scattered nations and peoples, have retained enough of the original language from which all alike sprang to demonstrate their common origin.


?One of the greatest discoveries of modern time, as affecting the question of races, is that conclusion from comparison of languages, which has defined what is called the Aryan or Indo-European family of nations,


?By a simple examination of the roots and structure of various languages, and their comparison especially with those of the Sanskrit, it has been ascertained, on evidence clear and unassailable, that certain nations, the most widely separated and the most diverse in physical characteristics, have a common origin. The blonde Norwegian and the dark-eyed Spaniard, the mercurial Kelt and the steady Anglo-Saxon, the Slavonic Russian and the lively Frenchman, the practical Anglo-American and the dreamy Hindu, the German and the Persian, the Greek and the Roman, are proved to be all emigrants from one home, and to have spoken once a common tongue.


?We can see also, in the words they have all preserved, how far their common forefathers had progressed in thought and in civilization, before the remarkable causes arose which scattered them in various tribes over the face of the earth.


?The words which all, or nearly all, their descendants have in common are those which convey the simplest ideas of existence and action; those which describe the nearest family relations, such as father and mother, son and daughter; those for domestic animals, such as dog, pig, sow, boar goose, and duck; those for the simplest articles of food, for certain metals, for the great luminaries of the sky, and ?the objects of religious worship, derived from these great phenomena, ? and words of feeling, like heart and tears.


?Language shows conclusively that the Aryan tribes had passed beyond the lowest barbaric stage before they separated. There is no certain evidence that they were agricultural, but they were probably nomadic or occupied with the care of flocks; they had built houses and worked in metals; they had constructed boats and fastened animals to vehicles for domestic labor, and were acquainted with the art of sewing if not of weaving. Words present to us as clearly as a historical record that even in that distant antiquity, certain great features, common to Indo-European nations, whether for good or evil, still existed.


?The relation of husband and wife, the position of the sexes, the absence of caste, and the priestly authority of the father, were characteristics of our earliest ancestors. It is an additional evidence of their early peaceful life, that the words which are different in the many branches of their descendants are, with a few exceptions, the names of wild animals, and those for the instruments of war. The common parent tongue of our ancestors has perished, but in the various languages of their descendantswhether Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Celtic, or Englishwe see traces of the primeval tongue.


?The center from which these various races first migrated is hid in the mists of a distant antiquity; but both language and the traditions of two races designate the high plateau of Asia lying east of the Caspian, as their common home.From the Indian Aryans have come the great people of the Brahmanic Hindus; and from the Iran or Persic Aryans descended the Persians, the Medes, the Carmanians, the Bactrians, the Sogdians, the Hyrcanians, the Sargartians, and others of minor importance.... However early may have been the original dispersion of the Aryan tribes, the historical appearance of this powerful family is comparatively late. The Turanian, the Hamitic, and the Semitic peoples, had successively erected powerful empires, ere the vigorous Aryan family came forward upon the field of history. Since that period, with the exception of the Assyrian empire, and the Semitic conquests under Mohammed, and occasional Turanian invasions, the Aryan races have held the dominion of the world; bearing with them Art and Law, and Science and Civilization; exercising the singular philosophic and intellectual power of this family; manifesting especially to the world the principle of public spirit (or individual sacrifice for the good of a community); and becoming the universal instruments through which the Semitic conceptions of Deity, and the Semitic inspirations of Christianity, have been spread through all nations.


?Their two great streams of populationthe European and the Asiatic Aryans, the practical races and the meditative racesafter unknown ages of separation, modified by incomprehensible and countless influences of climate and of nature, as apparently diverse as any two branches of the human family, have, during the past two centuries, met again in the valleys of India, and the last few years have witnessed what is perhaps the final prostration of the Asiatic Aryan beneath the ingenuity and vigour of the European Aryan.? Brace?s ?Manual of Ethnology, ? pp. 3842.




It is difficult to define the elements of the Hamitic family, as the most varied opinions exist among philologists on the question. Dr. Edkins, of the London Missionary Society, thinks that even Chinese is a Cushite, or Hamitic, language, and that the migration which peopled the Celestial empire was connected with the age and race of Nimrod. It is impossible to decide that many of the so-called Turanian languages are not Hamitic; but it is easy to prove that certain languages are so, and a consideration of these is sufficient for our present purpose.


The unquestionably Hamitic nations include Egypt, Babylonia, Ancient Syria and Palestine, and other parts of Africa.


1. EGYPT. There is abundant proof that the most ancient organized state of which we have any knowledgeEgypt was peopled by the descendants of Mizraim, the son of Ham. The present Arabic name of Egypt is Misr; and the Hebrew Mizraim, which is dual in form and signifies the two Misrs, or Egypts, indicates the upper and lower sections of the long valley of the Nile. We learn from the tenth of Genesis that the early Egyptians were closely related to the primitive inhabitants of Canaan, who were descended from Mizraim?s brother Cush. Herodotus, Diodorus, and other Greek writers are agreed that settled government was established in Egypt. under monarchical institutions at an earlier date than in any other country. Some writers carry back the origin of Egypt into a fabulous antiquity, but historians of repute are agreed that it dates from a time anterior to B.C. 2000; in other words, that it goes back to a time soon after the Noahic deluge. Hamitic speech seems to have developed first in Egypt, and to have spread thence to other Hamitic races who were then perhaps dwellers in that land, by whom it was carried in two distinct lines to other parts of the earthin one line it passed to Ethiopia, Southern Arabia, Babylonia, Susiana, and the adjoining coast; and in another line to Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and the country of the Hittites.


In Scripture Egypt is frequently mentioned as ?the land of Ham.? ?He smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham.? ?Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.? ?They forgat God their Savior, which had done great things in Egypt; wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red Sea.?


#Ps 78:51 Ps 105:23 Ps 106:25, 22 2 . BABYLONIA. The earliest or one of the earliest empires established in the great Mesopotamian valley was undoubtedly a Cushite or Hamitic one. Nimrod was the founder of a dynasty which reigned in Babylonia for some centuries; but whether his empire was the earliest founded in that region whether it rose soon after the flood, as is commonly supposed, or nearer to the days of Mosesis as yet an undecided question. On account of its mention in the genealogical table in the tenth of Genesis, it is generally assigned to the earliest post-diluvian antiquity. But it should be noted that Nimrod is there introduced in a parenthetical way. He is not mentioned among the sons of Cush in verse 7, but separately and subsequently. It is not asserted that he built Babel or Babylon, but only that it became his first seat of empire, and that from Babylon he went forth to Asshur and built a new capital for himselfNineveh. It is further asserted that his renown was proverbial apparently in the days when the Pentateuch was published, as if his exploits were fresh in the minds of men as late as the days of Moses, a thousand years after the flood. Several things are implied in these statements:That Babylonia and the country to the north of it in the great valley between the Tigris and the Euphrates, ?the land of Shinar, ? was originally inhabited and governed by ?Asshur, ? or by Assyrians, i.e. by descendants of Shem. That after a considerable lapse of time sufficient for many great cities to have arisen beside Babylon itselfNimrod, a Hamite and a descendant of Cush, invaded and conquered the country, taking Babylon and the other places mentioned first, and gradually extending his dominion northward and eastward, till he reached the magnificent site on the Tigris which tempted him to erect a new capital to his empireNineveh, the remains of which are with us to this day.


The words ?Cush begat Nimrod? need not necessarily mean that the latter was the great-grandson of Noah, for very numerous parallel expressions elsewhere, both in Scripture and in various oriental works, prove distinctly that the words convey nothing more than that Nimrod was by descent a Cushite. No information of his chronological distance from his ancestor, nor of the number of generations which intervened between them, is given in the passage. That his empire did not belong to the earliest post-diluvian antiquity is implied in Genesis xiv., where we have an enumeration of the monarchs reigning in Abraham?s time in the great valley between the Tigris and the Euphrates. The kings of Shinar and Elam are specially mentioned, and yet there is not the least allusion to Nimrod as reigning at Babylon, or to the existence of such a city as Nineveh, indicating that the latter was not built, nor the kingdom of Nimrod established in the days of Abraham. The rulers of the entire district seem to have been involved, more or less, in the great war of the ?four kings with five, ? and the occupants of Babylon at the time were descendants of Shem, as is evident from their names. Hence it would seem as if Nimrod and his Cushite dynasty cannot at that time have come into existence. Now cuneiform monuments speak distinctly, like Genesis x., of a Cushite dynasty conquering Babylonia, spreading to the north, and erecting Nineveh on the Tigris. But they place this event about the sixteenth or seventeenth century before Christ, and state that by these conquests one original Chaldean empire was overthrown. Traces of Nimrod?s empirei.e. of a Hamite dynastyhaving ruled in Mesopotamia were found by Layard among the ruins of Nimrod, carved ivories bearing a strong resemblance to similar antiquities found in Egypt, and even monuments with distinctly Egyptian physiognomies. Cush and Mizraim, the founders of the Egyptian kingdom, were brothers. Berosus, the Chaldean priest, of whose history of his people considerable fragments exist, also throws light on the subject. He states that the fifth dynasty which ruled in Babylon consisted of ?nine Arabian kings, ? who reigned 245 years. Now as Arabia was originally peopled by the Cushites, this dynasty may well be that of Nimrod. Further, some very ancient Babylonian writings, discovered in an Arabic translation, and investigated by Professor Chwolson, of St. Petersburg, mention a foreign dynasty founded in Babylonia by one called Nemroda, or Nimrod, as actually ruling in the days when the author wrote. His book has no date, but its internal evidence shows that it belongs to a period long prior to the second Babylonian empire founded by Nabonassar, and subsequent to the early Chaldean monarchy.


On these and other grounds the existence of the Cushite empire of Nimrod is, by many careful scholars, now considered to be proved, independently of the statement in the tenth of Genesis; but they hold it to have intervened between the old Chaldean monarchy and the rise of the Semitic Assyrians to supreme power in Western Asia. Even as late as the century of Nebuchadnezzar, 600 B.C., the Hamitic race is shown by the monuments to have formed a large element in the population of Babylonia.


Thus, while altering our preconceived opinion as to its precise chronological position, profane history and archaeological discovery alike agree in maintaining what Scripture asserts (i) That Babylon was founded very soon after the flood; (2) that Mesopotamia was at first occupied by descendants of Shem; (3) that Nimrod, a Cushite invader, conquered the country, and then extending his empire northward, built Nineveh, and founded a dynasty which ruled over the neighbouring nations for a considerable period of time before the later Assyrian dynasty arose. Further explorations of the mounds on the Tigris and Euphrates will probably in years to come make still clearer our present conceptions of the exact nature of these events, and help us more accurately to determine the dates of these early political revolutions.


?The close connection between Egypt and Babylonia is in any case unquestionable. Ancient classical tradition and recent linguistic research agree in establishing a close connection between the early inhabitants of the lower Mesopotamian plain and the people which under the various names of Cushites, Ethiopians, and Abyssinians, bad long been settled upon the Nile.... Names which are modifications of Cush have always hung about the lower Mesopotamian region, indicating its primitive connection with the Cush upon the Nile. Even now ancient Susiana is known as Khuzistan, or the land of the Cushites. Standing alone, these might be weak arguments; but Sir Henry Rawlinson, the first translator of primitive Babylonian documents, declares the vocabulary employed to be ?decidedly Cushite or Ethiopian, ? and states that he was able to interpret the inscriptions chiefly by the aid which was furnished to him from published works on the Galla or Abyssinian and the Mahia or South Arabian dialects.? Rawlinson?s ?Egypt and Babylon, ? p. 8.




Nor was it in Egypt and in Babylonia only that the Hamites rose to supremacy in early post-diluvian times. A third great empire arose among them before any of the descendants of Shem or Japhet became prominent on the stage of the world?s history. And this third empire was not merely Hamitic, it was also distinctly Canaanitish; so that whatever reading we adopt of the text of Noah?s prophecy whether we read ?Ham the father of Canaan, ? or ?Canaan? alonethe history of this empire is in point.


The Bible notices of the races who occupied the land promised to Abraham include a variety of nations under the general name Canaanites. Among these the Hittites appear frequently as first and mightiest, as having widespread dominions and great power. They are called ?the children of Heth, ? the second son of Canaan. In the Bible we first meet with them at Hebron, on the high-road from Egypt to Jerusalem, where they seem to have been recognized as the rightful owners of the place, from whom Abraham, regarded as a prince among them, purchased a burying ground. The Hittites were not only a commercial people, as we see by this money transaction, but they were also the proprietors of the land. This is the earliest transfer of land on record, and they were Hittites who made out these earliest title deeds. It seems that they subsequently secured sufficient foothold in Egypt to found the city called Zoan; as we are told in a parenthetical sentence, that Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.


Esau married several Hittite wives, who were a bitterness of spirit to Isaac and Rebecca. When Joshua took possession of Canaan, the command to destroy the Hittites was definitely given; and the limits of the land were defined in the words, ?From the wilderness and Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.? In the various confederacies formed against the Israelites by the nations of Canaan, the Hittites are frequently mentioned; and in the great and decisive battle of Lake Merom their chariots and horses are alluded to. Though their power was crushed on the conquest of Canaan, many of them were spared and continued to dwell in the land. {#Jud 3:5} David had Hittite warriors in his army; and Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon and ancestress of our Lord, was the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Solomon also had Hittite wives. At the time of David?s extensive empire, Kadesh, the southern capital of the Hittites, was included in it, {#2Sa 8} for he sent Joab there to number the people.


The word ?Tahtim-hodshi?, {#2Sa 24:6} which is simply transliterated from the Hebrew in the Authorised Version, is translated in the Septuagint ?Gilead, and the land of the Hi/tiles of Kadesh.?


Some of them, however, continued to enjoy an independent existence, for in #1Ki 10:29 we read that the kings of the Hittites had horses and chariots brought up for them out of Egypt. In 2 Kings we read that the Syrians fled panic-stricken from the siege of Samaria, on imagining that the king of Israel had hired against them ?the kings of the Hittites.?


In all these passages there is implied, if not plainly stated, the existence of a wide-spread Hittite power from the days of Abraham to those of David.


Historical critics, however, asserted that there were no traces of any such empire in classic history, and pronounced the Bible notices of it to be unhistoric and unworthy of credence. Professor Newman and the Rev. I. K. Cheyne entirely rejected the Scripture account, and asserted that it was not, in spite of its great antiquity, of equal value as historic evidence with the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Egypt. Remarkable recent discoveries prove the Bible to be right and the critics to be wrong, and establish by a surprising amount of evidence the existence for about a thousand years of a great and mighty Hittite empire, which was able to dispute supremacy in the earth with the most powerful Pharaohs of Egypt for many centuries, and to extort from one of them at last a treaty of peace, which was sealed by a matrimonial alliancea marriage from which it seems probable that the foster-mother of Moses was born. It is about ten years since Dr. Wright first obtained casts of some very ancient inscriptions from Hamath in Northern Syria, and called public attention to them as Hittite remains. Many similar ones have since been discovered in the same script elsewhere by other explorers, in Asia Minor, on the shores of the Euxine Archipelago and Levant, on the borders of Egypt, and on the banks of the Euphrates. These inscriptions have been deciphered by Professor Sayce, who has devoted his life to the study of such questions, and who says: ?We may now consider the Hittite origin of the peculiar system of writing first noticed by modern travellers on the site of Hamath, to be among the ascertained facts of science and Dr. Isaac Taylor, in his learned book, ?The Alphabet, ? refers to those hieroglyphics and sculptures ?as in the unmistakable style of Hittite art.? ?Transactions of the Soc. Bib. Arch., ? vol. vii. part ii. p. 246. Vol. ii. p. 520.


The cumulative evidence resulting from the decipherment of these very ancient historical remains proves that the empire of the Hittites was wider and their power even greater than is implied in the Scripture notices. ?That their empire extended, ? says Dr. Isaac Taylor, ?as far as the Euxine and the Egean, is shown by hieroglyphics scattered over Asia Minor, more especially in Lydia, Lycaonia, Cappadocia, and Cilicia.? ?Scholars are only just beginning to realize the vast extent of the dominions of the Hittites, and their important place in primitive history. Till the rise of Assyria, they were the most powerful nation in North-western Asia. Dr. Schliemann?s discoveries at Troy, and the Hittite monuments scattered over Asia, as far west as the neighbourhood of Smyrna, prove the extent of their empire to the west; while to the south, at a time prior to the exodus of the Hebrews, their dominion extended as far as Hebron; and if Mariette is right in his belief that one of the Hyksos dynasties was Hittite, they must have established their rule over Egypt itself.?


In the inscriptions at Karnak, referring to the victories of Thothmes III., there is a long list of towns in the land of the Hittites. Of these Brugsch says: ?It is clear that this list exhibits in their oldest orthography the greater number of these towns which are afterwards mentioned so frequently in the records of wars, in Assyrian history, in the cuneiform inscriptions which have been deciphered. They are the old allied cities of those ?Kheta, ? of unknown origin, who long before the rise of Nineveh and Babylon played the same part as at a later period the Assyrians


undertook with success.?. As at Megiddo in Pales


tine, so at Kadesh on the Orontes, the king of the Hittites had under his command all the surrounding peoples, either as subjects or allies, and it is clear that the mighty host was brought into the field by a voice of command that had to be obeyed.?


?The Alphabet, ? by Dr. Isaac Taylor, vol. ii. p. 121. Brugsch?s ?Egypt under the Pharaobs, ? vol. ii. p. 7. Wright?s ? The Empire of the Hittites, ? pp. 52, 53.


Dr. Isaac Taylor says, speaking of the monuments: ?They are those of a people who have been identified with the Hittites of the Old Testament, the Kheta of the Egyptian monuments, the Khattai of the Assyrian records, and the Keteioi of Homer.


?They were one of the most powerful peoples of the primeval world, their empire extending from the frontier of Egypt to the shores of the Egean, and, like the Babylonians and the Egyptians, they possessed a culture, an art, and a script peculiar to themselves, and plainly of indigenous origin.? ?The Alphabet, ? vol. ii. p. 120.


Perhaps, however, the most striking indication of the might of this ancient empire is afforded by its relations to Egypt. After tracing these by means of the monumental records of Egypt itself, Dr. Wright says: ?We thus see the Hittite kings the rivals of the Pharaohs in peace and war from the twelfth to the twentieth dynasty. The shock of Egyptian invasion exhausted itself against the frontier cities of Kadesh and Carchemish, but the mighty empire of the Hittite extended beyond, on the broad plains and islands of Asia Minor, and so there were always fresh Hittite armies, and abundance of Hittite wealth, to enable the Hittite empire to withstand the might of Egypt for a thousand years.? ?Empire of the Hittites, ? p. 35.Mr. Theophilus C. Pinches, of the British Museum, considers that the composition of these tablets cannot be later than 2000 B.C.


If we ask how far back can the existence of this Hittite empire be traced, Professor Sayce replies: ?Already in the astrological tables of Sargon of Agane, in the nineteenth century B.C., the Hittites are regarded as a formidable power.? ?Transactions of the Soc. Bib. Arch., ? vol. vii. part ii. p. 265.]


THE ASSYRIAN INSCRIPTIONS record the struggles of Tiglath-Pileser, Assur-Nasir-Pal, and other Assyrian monarchs with these same ?Kheta, ? or Hittites. Shalmaneser conducted thirty campaigns against them, according to his own account on two important monuments, one of which is known as the Black Obelisk of Nimrod, and the other as the Monolith of Kurkh; but still the warlike sons of Heth renewed the conflict, nor was it until the days of Sargon that they were finally subdued at Carchemish, their Eastern capital. This important event is narrated in one of Sargon?s numerous annals, translated by Dr. Julius Oppert: ?In the fifth year of my reign, Pisiri of Carchemish sinned against the great gods, and sent against Mita the Moschian messenger, hostile to Assyria. He took hostages. I lifted my hands to Assur, my lord. I made him leave the town. I sent away the holy vases out of his dwelling. I made them throw him into chains of iron. I took away the gold, the silver, and treasures of his palace. The Circesian rebels who were with him, and their properties, I transplanted to Assyria. I took among them fifty cars, two hundred riders, three thousand men on foot, and I augmented the part of my kingdom. I made the Assyrians to dwell in Circesium, and I placed them under the domination of Assur my lord.? ?Records of the Past, ? vol. vii. p. 30.


If now we inquire what was the moral character of these people, and what their religion, we shall perceive that they shared with Egypt and Babylon the moral degradation which fitted them to exchange dominion and rule for a servile position, that their moral decadence involved their perishing and passing away from the stage of history. The rites with which their goddesses were honored should hardly be called religion. The priestesses were mere ritualists, and the business of their service was attention to ceremonies without any reference to morality. Their impure worship seems to have been mingled with the primitive nature-worship; and in the name Kadesh, the capital of the Hittites, we see one of the numerous shrines where Hittite girls were devoted to wickedness in the name of religion. The worship of these deities took many repulsive forms. Devotees surrendered their children to Baal in the flames, and the children?s screams were drowned by trumpet and drum; and the rites of Astarte were equally vile, though accompanied by the cooing of doves and clouds of incense. Wright?s ?Empire of the Hittites, ? pp. 75, 76. Their idol-gods were innumerable. Treaties and agreements were placed under the sanction of gods and goddesses just as in Egypt, and the catalogues of deities whose names are affixed to such documents are very long.


The Hittite empire passed away after an existence of about 1000 years. It disappears from the stage of history subsequently to the battle of Carchemish, and leaves scarcely a trace behind, so that its ever having existed at all was eventually called in question. But its records happily withstood the ravages of time, though the power to read them was lost. The key to their decipherment now recovered, the old empire emerges from the oblivion of ages, a resuscitated witness to the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. And though the Hittite monuments leave unrevealed much which we would fain learn, yet they bring clearly to our knowledge an important early development of the posterity of the youngest son of Noah, and the Hittites must henceforth take their place alongside of the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Canaanites. All four rose to early eminence in the earth; the moral and religious character of three of them is sufficiently evidenced by their still existing remains, and that of the fourth is plainly stated in Scripture.




We have now indicated the three leading groups of nations connected with the three sons of Noah as they appear in ancient and modern times. A very large number of nations which have existed and exist still in the earth are, however, as we have said, not included in any of these groupsthe Turanian races, the Chinese, and most of the nations who speak the hundreds of African languages. No certain knowledge of the racial connections of these nations and peoples has as yet been attained. Ethnographers and linguists differ among themselves on the question at present. Science is therefore silent, or ventures only to make suggestions; it cannot announce any conclusions. But from this very fact it is clear that the nations we have omitted are not those who have made history. Had they exerted any great influence in the world, their genealogy would not have been thus obscured, nor the family connections of their language lost. Great peoples preserve their archives just as noble families preserve their genealogies, and can trace back their family tree to its founder. It is only the most illiterate who can scarcely tell the names of their great-grandfathers, and only as to the less influential and degenerate peoples of the earth can any doubt exist as to their true ancestry. This will be seen at once by a glance at the names of the Turanian group of languages. There are few among them known generally at all, and fewer still known to fame. The family embraces the greater portion of the Asiatic peoplesthe Tartars, Mongols, Thibetians, Tamulians, and aboriginal Indian peoples, as well as in Europe such nations as the Finns and the Lapps; and it is possible that the Malay inhabitants of the Eastern Archipelago and the Central African nations also belong to it, but it is by no means certain. None of them have in any obvious or notorious way shared in the distinctive fortunes of either Shem or Japhet; none of them have attained any great religious supremacy, or exercised any marked spiritual influence in the earth like the Semites; nor have any of them secured vast extension or enlargement like the sons of Japhet. If we could, as we doubtless shall be able to do in due time, connect them by means of their languages with their parent stock, it would in no way affect our conclusions as to the fulfillment of Noah?s wonderful prophecy; for just as a family of great musicians may have some unmusical members, or a family of painters some who have no talent for art, so a great family of nations, characterized as a whole, and in its leading members by certain peculiarities, may have inferior members wholly destitute of such distinctive features. Such characteristics as these nations do possess, associate them rather with the Hamitic races than with either of the other two, and the special destiny of Ham?s descendants attaches very clearly to some of them. So markedly have servitude and slavery been the portion of the colored race of the

Dark Continent, that it is difficult not to believe that they are descendants of the youngest son of Noah. It has indeed generally been assumed that they are so, as, for instance, by Dr. Keith in his admirable unanswered and unanswerable ?Evidence of Prophecy;? ?Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion derived from the Literal Fulfillment of Prophecy, ? by Dr. Alexander Keith, p. 513, 37th edition. but it must be admitted in the light of modern linguistic discovery that this is an assumption which it is as impossible to prove as to disprove. We have consulted on this point Robert Cust, Esq., the well-known writer on languages, and our inquiry referred especially to the large family of dialects known as the Bantu languages of Central Africa, which extend from the east to the west of the continent, and from the south of the Soudan to the borders of Cape Colony, embracing thus nearly the southern half of Africa, and including hundreds of large tribes and nationsall the languages spoken on the Congo and its great tributaries, the Zulu and Kaifre tongues with their sub-divisions, though not the Hottentot. As regards these languages, Mr. Cust says: ? The Banto family is quite distinct and separate from any other linguistic family ; it has no affinity whatsoever to any, either in structure or vocabulary. How it came into existence is a secret reserved for the next century. We have not a tittle of evidence to hang a theory upon. It will be safe to say nothing, because we know nothing; nor can I for a moment admit that the Berber, Galla, Agau, etc., are Semitic tongues in any sensethey are Hamitic.?


Language does not as yet indicate the connection, but on the other hand it gives no counter-indication. In the case of the Central African races, history cannot enable us to decide their origin any more than language, for Central Africa may be said to have no history. Geography, however, points distinctly to a Hamitic source for all the populations of Africa. South-western Asia was the cradle of the human race, and the nature of the case requires, consequently, that Africa should have been entered from its north-eastern quarternot across the Isthmus of Suez only, but also from the shores of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean to the south of it. The early Hamitic Chaldeans had ships, and were great traders by sea to these regions, as we know. Now as Ethiopia, Nubia, and Egypt were unquestionably peopled by Hamites, we have no reason to doubt that it was the same with the rest of the continent. Conquest, commerce, and colonization have, in the course of ages, introduced many other elementsArabs, Moors, Greeks, Romans, English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch. But in considering the dark races as one and all descended from Ham, we take the most probable, and therefore the most scientific, ground. As long as one whit of evidence can be adduced for an opposite theory, we are justified in assuming from geographical probabilities, and from the marvelous and long-continued social degradation of the people, that the condition of the population of the Dark Continent illustrates and fulfils the brief but pregnant foreview of Noah as to the posterity of his youngest son.


Four men and four women were saved in the ark; who were the latter? We know the names and characters of the men, but Scripture gives no particulars of the women. Noah?s wife was doubtless a godly woman, and so, in all probability, the wives of Shem and Japhet. Ham?s unfilial and impious character suggests the question as to the sort of wife such a man would have been likely to choose. Can the foreseen character of his posterity, which was to blight them with the doom of servitude in the earth, be traceable to the mother?s character as well as to that of the father? We must remember that Noah was five hundred years old when he begat Shem, Ham, and Japhet, and six hundred years old at the time of the flood, so that the young men had lived for a century in the midst of that ungodly antediluvian race, one of whose specially recorded sins was the contraction of unequal marriages. Ham, though actually one of the godly family, may, like others, have taken to himself a wife of Cainite origin (as Esau afterwards intermarried with the daughters of Heth and Canaan). If soand there is nothing in Scripture to forbid the thought, and much, on the other hand, to suggest itmay there not lie in this fact an explanation of more difficulties than one? Not only would it account for the character of the family of Noah?s youngest son, as evidenced afterwards in their conduct, but it may furnish an explanation of the remarkable physical differences which existed in the very earliest ages between the Hamites and the rest of mankind.




We have now indicated the three groups of nations descended respectively from the three sons of Noah, including all those whose ancestry can be undoubtedly ascertained. We have consequently before us the facts on which must be based any valid reply to the question, Has the second section of the Divine program of the world?s history been fulfilled?


We recall first the dark foreview which it gives of the descendants of HAM, and we inquire, Does the state of the Hamitic peoples of this day justify it? We look round the world, we see many ruling races, foremost among which is the Anglo-Saxon, girdling the globe with its empires, and holding in subjection men of all breeds and colors. Published 1887. We see Europe and America in the forefront of civilization and powerAsia enormously behindhand, and Africa almost immeasurably in the rear.


Europe and America call Japhet father; and even India, if we except its degraded aboriginal hill-tribes, is Aryan or Japhetic. China and the Turanian races of Asia cannot be adduced in evidence at all, as their ancestry is uncertain; the Jews and the Arabs are Shemites, and there remains only poor, dark, degraded Africa to tell us the present condition of the descendants of Ham. The distinguishing feature of Africa is slavery. The low type of its populations morally and intellectually is such that liberty and independence, to say nothing of rule and dominion over others, is to them impossible. To tyrants at home, and to slave-raiders from afar, they submit without a thought of struggling for their liberties. Disunion and mutual distrust reign among neighbouring tribes, and forbid their uniting for mutual defence. Public spirit is wholly wanting; the bracing and elevating influence of true religion is replaced by degrading superstition, and hence despotic tyranny and cruel devil-worship reign unopposed. The woman is slave to the man, the subject to the chief, the petty tyrant to the great tyrant, and the Negro races as a whole to the white races. In America, until recently, millions of Africa?s sable sons served the children of Japhet as bond-slaves. In Egypt, the Hamitic races have foe ages served the Semitic; the degradation of the land is indeed wonderful, and especially so when contrasted with its early glory.


It is long since its days of dominion passed away for ever. Nebuchadnezzar, a Semitic monarch, was its first conqueror; and Ezekiel, the prophet of the Captivity, announced its fate from that time forth in a very distinct and detailed way. ?It shall be a base kingdom; it shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations.? ?I will diminish them, ? said God, ?that they shall no more rule over the nations.. .. The sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.? ?They also that uphold Egypt shall fall. ... I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt.. .. The pomp of her strength shall cease in her, ... a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity.? {#Eze 29:, 30}


When the Persian power succeeded the Babylonian, Cambysesa Median, and therefore Aryan or Japhetic monarch conquered Egypt, and treated the people with barbarous cruelty. As Isaiah had predicted, they were given over ?into the hand of a cruel lord, and a fierce king ruled over them.? The Persians oppressed them so severely that they were driven again and again to revolt, but each time they were subdued with fresh cruelties. When the Persian empire fell, Alexander the Greata Grecian, and therefore another Aryan or Japhetic conquerorbecame their master, and left the city of Alexandria as a memento of his dominion in the land. After his death Egypt fell to the share of his general, Ptolemy, whose successors governed it for many generations, the first few fairly well; but, as Strabo asserts, ?all after the third very ill, being corrupted by luxury.? This dynasty, after reigning 294 years, ended in the suicide of the infamous Cleopatra. Octavius C~sar then reduced Egypt to a Roman province (30 B..), and for 670 years it was governed by prefects sent from Rome, orafter the division of the empire from Constantinople. Then succeeded the Saracen dominion, when Omar conquered Egypt, and burned the invaluable Alexandrian library of 400, 000 volumes, sinking the already base kingdom lower than ever before, by leaving it a prey to ignorance and superstition. For six centuries this Saracenic rule lasted; and then a dynasty of actual slaves ruled Egypt for 267 years. Until A.D. 1517.


THE MAMELUKS were Circassian or Turkish slaves bought young and trained to military service by the Sultans of Egypt, who grew insolent at last, slew their sovereign, and usurped the government of the country. Here then were the once proud Egyptians become servants of servants indeed The rule of the Mameluks was a succession of ?wars, battles, injuries, and rapines. Twenty-four Turkish and twenty-three Circassian sultans succeeded each other, the last being hanged before one of the gates of Cairo by Selim, the Turkish emperor, who put an end to the Mameluk government, and annexed Egypt to the Ottoman empire, to which nominally it still belongs.


Thus, for twenty-five long centuries, the Egyptian descendants of Ham have been in subjection to successive forms of Semitic and Aryan rule; never once independent, never ruled even by a native viceroy, never able to throw off the yoke, much less to impose their authority on others, they have continued a kingdom, but have been, and are, ?the basest of the kingdoms.? ?A servant of servants will he be unto his brethren, ? said Noah; and such is Egypt to this day. Look where we will the world over, nowhere can we see Hamitic races in a position of supremacy.


But it was not always thus. The earliest empires of antiquity were Hamitic. Nimrod conquered Semitic peoples; Egypt held Israel in bondage. In chronological order, supremacy in the earth fell first to the Hamites, then to the Shemites or Semitic nations, and lastly, up to the present time, to the descendants of Japhet.


Now, here a remarkable and most interesting fact claims our attention, and is in itself a strong argument for the inspiration of this Noahic prophecy. So far from there being any sign of its fulfillment in the days of Moses, or even at the latest date to which sceptical criticism assigns the authorship of the Pentateuch, appearances were all entirely the other way. No human foresight would have anticipated degradation and servile subjection for the Hamitic races in those early ages. Things looked as if nothing could have well been more mistaken than the prediction. All the greatest empires of the earliest antiquity were Hamitic the mighty and long-continued kingdom of Egypt; the great empire of Nimrod, of whose gigantic and magnificent cities and temples we have ocular evidence in our own day; all the seven nations of Canaan; and above all, this mighty, warlike, extensive, and long-lasting empire of the Hittites all were Hamitic. Wherever the eye turned, the posterity of the youngest son of Noah would in those early ages have been observed to be in the ascendant. While Abraham was still nothing but a sheik of a pastoral tribe wandering over the quiet uplands of Palestine, the Hamitic Pharaoh surrounded by his princes was already reigning in state in Egypt; and centuries later, when Abraham?s posterity were groaning under cruel bondage in the land of Ham, its proud monarch refused to liberate his oppressed captives. Even when a first instalment of fulfillment occurred in the conquest of the Canaanites by the Israelites under Joshua, the mighty empire of the Hittites remained, and continued to hold by far the larger part of the territory promised to the seed of Abraham. Just as Cain, who was cursed from the earth which had opened her mouth to receive his brother?s blood from his hand, went out from the presence of the Lord, and with his descendants built cities, invented arts, cultivated music, grew rich and great and wicked, so with the descendants of Noah?s youngest son. Their doom of degradation did not overtake them all at once. God?s great judgments linger; they are slow, but sure. The nations of Canaan were not expelled until their iniquity was full; the Hamites generally did not sink into servile subjection to their brethren until they had proved their utter unfitness to be the leading races of the world. A thousand years is with the Lord only as one day. The Lord was not slack concerning His promise of supremacy to Shem and Japhet, but He was in no haste to vindicate His own truth and faithfullness. The two great branches of the Hamitic family the African and the Asiaticwere both permitted to rise into eminence in the earliest ages of history: ?For the last three thousand years the world has been mainly indebted for its advancement to the Semitic and Indo-European races, but it was otherwise in the first ages. Egypt and Babylon, Mizraim and Nimrodboth descendants of Hamled the way and acted as the pioneers of

mankind in the various untrodden fields of art, literature, and science. Alphabetic writing, astronomy, history, chronology, architecture, plastic art, sculpture, navigation, agriculture, textile industry, seem all of them to have had their origin in one or other of these two countries.? Rawlinson?s ?Ancient Monarchies, ? vol. i. p. 60.


Is this strange? No, but it is in harmony with the course of Divine providence revealed to us throughout Scripture:


?That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual.? ?Many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first.? These sons of Ham had ample time and a wide sphere allowed them in which to show forth what was in them, in which to display the character that was subsequently to bring down upon them the degradation predicted. God never inflicts undeserved judgments; He waits until men fill up the measure of their iniquity. had servitude overtaken the Hamites from the first, it might have seemed an arbitrary and unjust infliction a thing of which the providential government of God affords no instance. He renders to every man according to his works. What a man sows, that he also reaps; and what is true of individuals, is true also of nations and of races. Egypt and Babylon, the Canaanites and the Hittites, one and all fell into the lowest depths of idolatry, and into the vilest forms of sensualism, cruelty, and sin; they perished in their own corruption, and were the victims of their own iniquities. They deserved the degradation that in after ages overtook them, and sank not into servitude ere they had proved themselves unworthy of supremacy. The Hamitic races have left us what? The inheritance of great and influential religions, like the Semites? Descendants who form the leading nations of the earth to-day, like the Japhetites? A rich and precious literature moulding still the minds of men? No; none of these. They have left usthe pyramids of Egypt, the monstrous carvings of Memphis and Thebes, the masses of masonry buried in the mounds of Nimrud; boastful, vainglorious inscriptions by the hundred, with bas-relief presentations, all too vivid, of their horrible cruelties, their devastating wars, and their degrading superstitions. We know what their religion and their morals must have been from these, as well as from the assertions of history. Nineveh, Babylon, and Egypt were, besides all of them, enemies and oppressors of Israel. Ezekiel?s description of the idolatry, the pride, and the wickedness of Egypt present an awfully dark picture of the nation.


They are described by contemporary historians as a luxurious, unwarlike, vicious, and faithless people. ?Such men are evidently born not to command, but to obey; they are altogether unworthy of liberty, and slavery is the fittest for them, as they are fittest for slavery.? For ?righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.? Where now are the Hamite races? What thrones do they occupy? what sceptres do they wield? What influence do they exert in the earth? They have disappeared from the stage of history as rulers, leaders, actors, almost as completely as if they had never been. They continue to exist, but as degraded and enslaved peoples; living witnesses of the truth of God, almost as great a miracle as the Jews themselves.


And next we inquire, What about the religious supremacy of Shem? Has God in any peculiar sense been the God of His descendants, and have they held Hamitic races in subjection?


The answer to this question is the simple but all-comprehensive statement that Sheni was the father of Abraham. As we shall see more fully in a later section, all the true religion in the world comes to it through Abraham, and thus through Shem. The only three religions on earth which have any knowledge at all of the one living and true God are Semitic. Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism (which, defective and even blasphemous as it is, is yet infinitely nearer the truth than any form of idol-worship or ?fetish ?)all three flow from Abraham, the Hebrew, as their human fountain-head; and thus from the second son of NoahShem. God has been the Lord God of Shem in an altogether peculiar and distinctive sense. The Savior of the world descended from this son of Noah. Revealed religion has flowed through Semitic channels. This is a fact that none can deny, and a fact that must have been foreseen, and that well deserved to be foretold. We do not dwell further on it here, as it must come under consideration in our next chapter in another connection. Every psalm of David, and every Christian hymn and sacred song of later days, every authentic narrative of the earliest ages of humanity, the sublime law of Sinai, and the beatitudes and parables of Christ, the visions of prophecy, the teachings of apostles, the testimony of the martyrs, the missions of modern Christianityall that has lifted our world from ruin and misery and darkness and death, all that has purified and ennobled it and opened to it a door of hope for the future all has come to it through Shem.


It is true that the bud of Judaism, when it blossomed into the flower of Christianity, exhaled its heavenly perfume far and wide, and knew no distinction of races. The sons of Japhet and the sons of Ham shared in the great salvation. It was to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, but the point is that it came through Shem. Religious supremacy belonged to his line. No fact in human history is clearer than this. The prediction has been fully accomplished, and the future will exhibit this even more clearly than the present; for the unspeakable blessings of the ages to come all flow to our race through Christ, who, as Son of man, is the offspring of Shem.


And it is equally clear that the prediction as to Japhet has been and is abundantly accomplished. Not only were the Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires, which ruled the world in their day, Japhetic, or Aryan (meaning, in Sanskrit, lordly, or of good family), but so are the vast majority of the nations of modern Europe Teutonic, Slavonic, and Celtic alike, with all their colonies throughout the world, as well as the United States of America, and some of the leading nations of Asia, including India, Armenia, and Persia. When we remember what the dominion of Greece and Rome were, and what the dominion of the Teutonic race now is, to say nothing of the vast power of Russia and the Slavonic nations, there can be no question as to the superior dominion which has fallen to this branch of the human family. The British empire alone exceeds the old Roman empire both in area and in population. For industrial and commercial development and for wealth it has no equal in the world, and never had even in bygone ages. No previous kingdom ever extended its dominions into all parts of the world. And yet it represents only half the Anglo-Saxon race, and that race is only one out of a multitude of Japhetic kingdoms. Some 300 millions of mankind are under the government of Great Britain; and if we add to this the sixty millions governed by the United States, we may say a third of the human family is under the dominion of the Anglo-Saxons alone! The Germans and French rule another 150 millions, and the Russians 100 millions more. The Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, and other European nations rule about another too millions; so that probably half the human race is even now under the government of the sons of Japhet, and that in all parts of the world. Here is indeed enlargement and dominion on a vast and long-enduring scale!


The HAMITIC races lost all rule and empire twenty-five centuries ago; they now count for nothing among the powers of the world. The SEMITIC races were never greatly enlargednever great conquerors, save for a short period in the Saracenic era. They have ruled the world by another weapon than the sword; they rule it still, and will rule it for ever religiously. The Japhetic races are, and have for over 2, 000 years been, supreme among the children of men. The round globe itself is the only measure of their enlargement. They influence even China and Japan and the vast expanses of Central Asia and Central Africa. The North Pole and the South alike are visited by them. They girdle the globe with submarine cables, cross its continents with their railways, and its oceans with their steam-ships, carry their commerce to its most distant shores, and force the unwilling heathen into friendly intercourse. Moreover, they dwell in the tents of Shem both spiritually and physically; they share by faith the blessings of Abraham?s covenant, and they occupy and influence lands once occupied by Semitic peoples.


Is not all this fulfilled prophecy on the grandest of scales? The entire ethnological development of the posterity of Noah foreseen and foretold when as yet the patriarch himself still lived! Did he guess how all this prolonged future would turn out? Was it by chance he assigned these widely different destinies to the descendants of his three sons? How came he to make no mistake? If Moses puts these words into his lips, why did he delineate a future absolutely contrary to every indication of his times? Why did he not make Noah assign supremacy to Ham, seeing, as he did, Hamitic empires all around him? Why did he not assign enlargement to Shem) and, as he knew little of Japhet, put the servitude down to his account? It would have seemed to human foresight a much more likely outline of the future. But no. Moses had nothing to do with the prophecy save as an editor. Noah had nothing to do with it save as an utterer. God Himself was and must have been its Author; and the second father of the human race was and must have been one of the ?holy men of old, ? who ?spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.?


Index Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Conclusion

About Me

Historicism.com is owned and operated by me, Joe Haynes, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I serve as a pastor in a church plant in Victoria since 2013. My wife, Heather, and I have five kids. In 2011, I completed a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Northwest Baptist Seminary at the Associated Canadian Theological Seminaries of Trinity Western University. I am currently a student in the Doctor of Ministry program at The Master's Seminary. Feel free to visit my blog at Keruxai.com.
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