The book of 1 Chronicles begins with the genealogy from Adam to Noah and his three sons. It then lists many descendants of Noah’s sons. Noah had three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth. There have been a lot of words written about which was the oldest. You’ll find them listed throughout the Bible in various orders. When all the words are read and the biblical evidence considered, I believe the order is Japheth was Noah’s oldest son, born when Noah was 500 years old. Shem was born second when Noah was 503 years old, and Ham was Noah’s youngest son. We might ask why Shem is often listed first. Shem is listed first because he was most important in propagating the Godly line that led from Noah to Abraham, through whose seed (Jesus Christ, the Son of God) all the nations of the earth would be blessed.”[1] We then have to answer the question as to why Shem is listed last in the genealogy, we see here at the beginning of the book of First Chronicles. Most suggest it is because the writer wants to emphasize the importance of Shem’s genealogy which connects Adam with the Messiah. But he begins with Japheth. Verses five through seven say, “The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.”

Japheth is closely connected with the renowned father of the Greeks (Iapetos) and with the ancestor of the Aryans in India (Iyapeti). Japheth’s son Gomer is understood by ancient writers to have settled in the present-day area of Crimea just north of the Black Sea. As Gomer’s descendants moved west, they settled in modern-day Germany and Wales. Magog, Japheth’s second son, is associated with the region just southeast of the Black Sea known as Georgia. The Jewish historian Josephus says that Magog was the ancestor of the Scythians. Madai, the third son of Japheth, is the normal Hebrew word for the Medes of Media which is east of Assyria and southwest of the Caspian Sea. Javan, the third son of Japheth, is the original name of Ionia which is Greece. Javan, the fourth son of Japheth, had four sons—all of whom are associated with Greece. The first, Elishah, is identified with Alashiyah on the island of Cyprus. ‘Hellas’ is a form of Elishah from which Hellenist derives. Homer’s Iliad mentions this people in the form of Eilesian. Tubal and Meshech, the fifth and sixth respective sons of Japheth, are always found together in the Bible. Tubal may correspond to Tibarēni—the modern Russian city of Tobolsk—while Meshech is thought to preserve the name Muskovi—the former name of Russia and Moscow. Tiras, the seventh son of Japheth, is identified by Josephus as the Thracians but possibly also to include the Etruscans of Italy. Ashkenaz, Japheth’s first grandson, was known in Jewish circles as one who settled in what would become Germany, and even in the present day, German Jews are called Ashkenazi. His brother, Togarmah, is known to be the ancestor of the ancient Armenians, and this name is etymologically associated with modern-day Turkey.
Tarshish, the second son of Javan, is identified with Tartessos in Spain and with Carthage in North Africa. The third son, Kittim, is preserved in the name of Kition which is located on the island of Cyprus.[2]

Why should we care about these people? First, it shows us that the Bible is not a book of fairy tales and fables. It is an actual historical record of the truth of our past. Modern archeological discoveries verify the existence of these people. There have been no discoveries that have disproved the validity of the genealogy listed in the Bible. Also, God cares for the sons of Japheth. Jesus put it in Paul’s heart to take the Gospel to them. His missionary journeys were all to our ancestors. As non-Jewish descendants, we have been grafted into the family tree of God’s people.