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Fausset's Bible Dictionary
("enlargement".) From pathah "to extend" (Genesis 9:27); Gesenius from yaphah "to be fair," from the fair complexion of James and his descendants. Probably the second son of Noah, from the youngest (Genesis 9:24; Genesis 10:2; Genesis 10:6; Genesis 10:21, where the Syriac, the Arabic, and the Vulgate translate as Gesenius "the elder brother of Japheth"; but Septuagint as KJV). If "younger son" in Genesis 9:24 is Canaan not Ham, the invariable order of the names represents also the order of their ages," Shem, Ham, and Japheth" Shem's genealogy is put last, being traced from Genesis 10:21 onwards uninterruptedly as the line of Messiah. These three are persons, the names of their descendants are ethnic. Written more than 3,000 years ago the genealogical account in Genesis 10 is the oldest and most. trustworthy history of the dispersion of mankind. It states from James came:
(1) Gomer, i.e. the Cymri or Celts;
(2) Magog, the Scythians and Sarmatians (Slavonians);
(3) Madai, the Medes or Aryans;
(4) Javan, the Ionians (Greeks);
(5) Tubal, the Tibareni;
(6) Meshech, the Moschi (these two declined between 1100 and 400 B.C., leaving no literature, so that modern ethnology does not notice them); and
(7) Tiras, the Thracians (Tentons). Moses thus, under the Spirit, anticipates the discoveries of ethnology, which comprises one great family of mankind under five heads:
1, Indo-Persians or Aryans;
Moses rightly makes the nations N. and W. of Mesopotamia and Syria Japhetic, comprising seven principal races within the geographical limits known to him. They occupied "the isles of the Gentiles," i.e. all the coast lands in Europe and Asia Minor, and islands of the Mediterranean, whence they spread northwards over Europe and much of Asia, from India and Persia in the E. to the extreme W. of Europe, and now to America and Australia. Genesis 9:27, "He (God, John 1:14, or Japheth) shall dwell in the tents of Shem." James by expansive energy and enlargement overpasses his own hounds and dwells in the tents of Shem, as the Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, and modern European and American empires exemplify.
But mainly James dwells in Shem's tents spiritually. Superior in secular enterprise and capacity for rule, yet in spiritual concerns James is inferior to Shem, through whose posterity alone all revelations from heaven have come, culminating in "God manifest in the flesh" (Romans 9:5). James's descendants, as converts to "the Lord God of Shem" (Genesis 9:26), dwell in spirit in Shem's tents (Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 60:5). The full consummation of the prophecy will be when Israel, sprung from Shem, shall be spiritual head of the nations, and they shall flock to Jerusalem where Israel's king shall reign (Jeremiah 3:17).
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Japheth'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/j/japheth.html. 1949.