If you wish to have a copy of this article, please download it here.
All Bible quotations are from the New King James Version
except for my own translations, or as otherwise indicated.
The Bible speaks about origins and this study examines Biblical genealogy
to find the origin of the Oriental peoples, the world’s largest family of nations.
The orient has the largest population group of earth. The anthropological and
historical evidences show that all East Asian peoples had their origin in China.
From the Bible we can identify the first people group that populated China.
All men in fact belong to one family because Adam and Eve were
of us all (Gen. 3:20), but there are three different genealogies after the Flood.
sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem,
Ham, and Japheth... These three were the sons of Noah,
and from these the whole earth was populated.
p> Bible scholars have traced the descendants of Ham mainly into Africa, and
also into the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and South Pacific regions. The
name Ham means hot and indicates that Hamitic people went to hot climates.
The descendants of Japheth have been traced to European and Aryan people,
mainly of Europe, and also into central Asia, Iran and north India. The name
Japheth means enlarged or expanded, and indicates the nature of
Bible scholarship traditionally has held the view that descendants of Shem
only settled in western Asia, thought to be Arabs and Jews mainly. But this
conclusion does not take east Asia into account (half of humanity), and gives
only a small portion to Shem. But Shem was given the greatest honour of
And he said: Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem...
The Bible says that Shem is the original forefather of the West Asian people
together with the East Asian people. The genealogy of all the
can be traced to Shem in the Genesis account.
Shem means honourable name, which fits well to oriental cultural values.
The Hebrew Bible often refers to God as “The Honourable Name” (HA-SHÈM),
thus joining God with the people of Shem. In Genesis 10:21, Shem is called
“The father of all the children of Eber,” meaning the Hebrew race.
Hebrew means ‘of Eber,’ or ‘descended from Eber.’ Gen. 10:25,
were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in
his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.
Hence the Hebrew race has descended from Eber in two branches, of Peleg,
or of Joktan. The name Peleg means sectioned or partitioned, thus relating him
to Babylon (Gen. 11:7-9), but the name Joktan means Youngson.
Only the first generation of Joktan’s
descendants was recorded in the Bible
(Gen. 10:26-29; I Chron. 1:19-23). Joktan’s family of thirteen sons is the largest
family of early Bible times. It is unusual that their names were even recorded
because Joktan’s lineage does not recur in later Bible history. Peleg’s lineage
recurs however (Genesis 11), so Bible readers have traditionally thought that
Peleg’s descendants are the only Hebrews in existence. But the descendants
of Joktan are in fact another, even larger branch of Hebrews. Peleg’s
has heightened visibility in the Bible because God chose Abraham’s kindred
to lead the Bible narrative; but the disappearance of Joktan’s lineage from the
Bible narrative means that Joktan’s family left west Asia entirely and migrated
far away to another land.
more than a century Noah and all the Flood survivors dwelt somewhere in
the east. This was eastwards of the Euphrates River plain: the Bible
calls it the plain of Shinar. Gen. 11:2, And
it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that
they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.
Later on, the plain of Shinar was renamed Babylon (Gen. 11:9). The phrase
“from the east” is MI-KÈDEM in Hebrew, and we can give a literal translation.
MI is ‘from,’
or ‘coming from’ (and can not be translated otherwise). KÈDEM is
of the east,’ or ‘the orient.’ The root idea is “front” —in a geographic
sense referring to the coastlands of east Asia facing sunrise. In the time
it can also mean ‘ancient beginnings’ (the front of time), and can sometimes be
translated ‘ancient orient.’ In Genesis 11:2, the word KÈDEM reveals that the
journeyed from the orient before entering the land of Babylon.
(Many Bible versions have poor translations of KÈDEM.)
The earliest sojourn of the Flood survivors was eastwards of Babylon, across
the Iranian plateau, taking more than a century according to the genealogy of
Gen. 11:10-16. More than a century is indicated (in Gen. 10:25) from the Flood
until Peleg, and it could have been many years later that he entered Babylon.
Peleg definitely went into Babylon, for his descendants were all dwelling there,
including Abraham (Gen. 11). But Joktan did not go with Peleg into Babylon.
pre-Babylonian sojourn is an important factor for it helps us to know the location
of Joktan’s migration route. He evidently separated from the caravan before they came to Babylon because he chose to go east. Gen. 10:30,
And their dwelling place was
from Mesha as you go towards
Sephar, the mountain of the east.
The caravan travelling west to Babylon was already in the east, so Joktan’s
decision to travel farther east means that he separated from the caravan
turned towards the orient; (we give our own translation of Gen. 10:30 later on).
Some scholars have suggested that Joktan went to Arabia because two of
his sons, Sheba and Havilah had the same names as two Arabian tribes. But
those Arabian tribes were of Cushite descent in the lineage of Ham and
the lineage of Shem at all (Gen. 10:6-7). Arabia is part of the migration route
to Africa, the land of Cush; therefore the first peoples in Arabia were Cushite.
Names may reappear in different genealogies but relationship is not implied.
The separation of Peleg’s clan and Joktan’s clan made two Hebrew peoples,
the Western Hebrews of western Asia and the Eastern Hebrews of east Asia,
the orient. Orientals are Hebrew people.
Gen. 9:28 says that Noah lived several years beyond the Babylon confusion
and so did the other post-Flood Patriarchs (Gen. 11). Therefore they also took
part in Babylon’s confusion if they were there. But we doubt that Noah was
Babylon at all. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD”
(Gen. 6:8) and was
righteous (Eze. 14:14; 2 Peter 2:5); hence he certainly would have opposed the
ambitions of Babylon and Nimrod’s kingdom (ref. Genesis 10:8-10). The Bible
does not say where Noah, Shem, Arphaxed, Salah and Eber then were, but the
possibility is that, like Joktan they may have gone eastward, farther into Asia.
We shall now examine the names mentioned in Gen. 10:30. The Flood had
erased all former place names but the names in the Bible have meaning,
that is important. Mesha means ‘departure,’ which probably refers
point of departure from the caravan. Joktan’s group took their departure point
somewhere on the Iranian plateau, or in central Asia, and that departure point
(MÈSHA) became the starting point of Joktanite settlement. Joktan’s
certainly the first to scout the ancient Silk Road, which later became the main
road of settlement into east Asia. Mesha (the departure point) was the start
the ancient Silk Road. The Silk Road first began near the city of Mashhad,
and that name may derive from the ancient name of Mesha.
The phrase, “towards Sephar” is
a translation of SEPHARÀH (in the Hebrew),
but it literally means ‘towards a numerous population.’ Instead
of a name,
if we take word meaning we find a prophecy for the numerous populations
now exist in China and through all the orient.
The phrase, “the mountain of the east” is a translation of HAR HA-KÈDEM,
but the literal Hebrew meaning is ‘the mountain of the orient.’ Now we have
our own translation of Gen. 10:30,
And their dwelling place shall be from the departure point, as you go towards a numerous population, the mountain of the orient. (translation mine)
“The mountain of the orient” might be a particular mountain that marks the
far-eastern extent of the oriental homelands or it could be just a symbolic
for the numerous population of east Asia, but it definitely means that
are Joktan’s descendants. (Joktan is indicated in Gen. 10:30, from the context.)
history affirms that the early pioneers came into the eastern plains of China
from the west, migrating along the Silk Road route. This verifies the
accepted dating of early settlements in the Yellow River valley of north China.
Bible chronology puts this migration at about 2200 BCE. Tribal diversity in
the orient began with Joktan’s thirteen sons and their families. It may also
be due to others associated with the Patriarchal families. The whole of east
Asia was eventually populated by descendants of those Semitic settlers. We therefore
conclude that the East Asian peoples are entirely Semitic and
may properly be called Eastern Hebrews. Other west Asian tribes came into China
later on, such as the Elamites, the ten northern Israeli tribes, the Persian
Jews, and the Assyrians. These were Semitic and they all eventually assimilated
We shall now consider the language aspect of Oriental origins and we want
first of all to clear up existing misunderstanding on the subject. Bible scholars
have made conclusions about language categorisation and in such conclusions
only the languages of Western Semites are regarded as Semitic (from Shem).
It is true that Oriental languages appear unrelated to the languages of ancient
Western Semites, such as Chaldee, Canaanite Hebrew and Aramaic. This non-
relationship has led some to conclude that the peoples of China and the orient
are not Semitic. But the East Asian languages are equally unrelated to Hamitic
languages and Japhetic Indo-European languages. This means that East Asian
languages have another origin—not necessarily based on ancestry. The Bible
does not say that all Semitic peoples must have related languages. That is
conclusion of the past that needs more consideration so that the contradictions
may be corrected.
But we agree the non-relationship of Oriental languages to other languages
is an interesting mystery and deserves an answer. The Bible says that at
first all men used the same language; “Now the whole earth had one language and
one speech” (Gen. 11:1).
The language brought over with Noah from the pre-Flood world apparently
continued into this world more than two centuries. It was a unifying influence
until it was confused amongst the Babylonian community. The Bible does not
say what happened to the original language. The only reason given us for the
confusing of it was that God wanted the Babylonian people to scatter abroad
(see Gen. 11:8-9). Therefore God did not change the language of people that
were not in Babylon for they were not part of the problem! Everyone that had
earlier removed from the Babylon crowd and had chosen their migration route
would have continued speaking the language taught them by Noah.
This means that Joktan’s clan remained entirely unaffected by the chaos in
Babylon, and kept the ancient original language brought over by Noah. Joktan
went to China, and this explains why Chinese is not related to
began in Babylon; it also explains why the language of China does not identify
ancestry. Chinese legends indicate great antiquity for their language, and
findings of archaeology support this conclusion.
Various Oriental peoples not from China have national languages that seem
unrelated to Chinese and unrelated to the other Babylonish languages as well.
God might have done a miracle in China, just as He did in Babylon, (although
we do not have a
Bible record of it), to get people moving into the other
around China. The miracle of languages may have happened again, and that
can explain how the various Oriental languages came to be. As well, some of
the Southeast Asian languages developed from foreign language intermixture.
Bible readers might be interested in Zephaniah 3:9, for it says that God will
restore a pure language to the people when He sets up His kingdom on earth.
The language from
Eden probably lasted until Noah, with no major changes.
It evidently was brought to China by Joktan—and has continued ever since as
the spoken language of China. It might have seen changes during all the time
since humanity first began, but much honour surrounds the Chinese language
because of its ancient origins.