Patriarchs, matriarchs, judges, prophets, kings, Jesus Christ, apostles/disciples

Biblical People groups

Amalekites, Arameans, Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Hamathites, Hittites, Hivites, Jebusites, Kenites, Kerethites & Pelethites, Medes, Persians, Philistines, Phoenicians and Scythians

People groups - Hide/Show this section

Historically, people groups could be classified by the patriarch or matriarch (the starting bloodline), by region they lived in (often named after prominent ancestors), or by the language they spoke. As stated in the Bible, there were 2 early timespans in mankind's history that allow us to trace a portion of our lineage - prior to the global Flood and after the Flood.

The Bible not only states the 12 Tribes (sons) of Israel (Jacob) and the Jews (from the specific family line of Judah), but also chronicles the history of mankind.

Pre-Flood lineage (Adam to Noah) - Genesis 5

Post-Flood lineage (from Noah's 3 sons, Japheth, Ham and Shem) - Genesis 10, also known as the "Table of Nations"

Some Arabs descend from Keturah (Abraham's 2nd wife), Moses' 2 sons, and potentially earlier people who exited Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark rested in modern-day Turkey near the Armenian & Iranian borders. The earliest civilizations include those from Mesopotamia (Akkadians, Sumerians, Assyrians and Chaldeans such as the Babylonians) and shortly thereafter in Africa (Egyptians). After the Flood, mankind spread across the globe from those regions. As a generalization, Japheth's offspring mostly moved into Europe but also spread into North Africa. The Greeks and Romans came from Japheth's line (through Javan) after his descendants began exploring the Meditteranean Sea. The early Indus Valley occupants appear to be descendants of Madai, a son of Japheth. Ham's offspring seemed to dominate on the African continent. Shem's line mostly remained in the Middle East and Asia. Considering the geographic regions these family lines appear in, Asians like the Chinese could easily be considered either Semitic in origin or also from Japheth's line; but, other evidence links them with the Hittites or Sinites, making them Hamites.

Keep in mind that sometimes people groups can identify the same people but have different names by various ethnic groups. For a more recent example, people and places in the colonial United States sometimes had 3 different names to each of the Native Americans, French & English.

Names - Hide/Show this section

Initially, names identified bloodlines and professions. Just as Smith is a very common name for silversmiths, blacksmiths or other tradesmen, males were identified as sons of certain historical figures as well as the locations where they lived. Jesus of Nazareth and James and John, sons of Zebedee are examples of this. Mary, mother of Jesus, is another example. As mankind grew, people often were named after their ancestors which mandated a way to distinguish between people who, in this case, aren't alive to tell their stories. King Saul in the Old Testament isn't the same Biblical character as Saul that became the apostle Paul. There are also at least 3 women named Mary named in the Bible: Mary Magdalene, the virgin mother Mary, & Mary, the sister to Martha.

A different form of identifying a partiarchal lineage developed over time. Semites used Ben- or Bin- as prefixes. For example, Ben-Hadad was the son of Hadad. Among Japheth's descendants, a Scottish example would be McDonald meaning son of Donald and a famous Viking was Leif Eriksen (Erik's son).

Today, some Spanish-speaking people merely add an additional name when remarried. So, for someone (typically a female) who has 6 names, if they have a middle name, then the 3rd name would be their maiden name.

Name changeReference
Abram > AbrahamGenesis 17
Sarai > SarahGenesis 17
Jacob > IsraelGenesis 32:22-32
Naomi > MaraRuth 1

In some cases, the same people have names in different languages such as the prophet Daniel.
In Hebrew, he was known as Daniel while the Babylonians named him Belteshazzar. Read Daniel 1 for the story of Daniel.

Between translations people sometimes have slightly differing spellings, but may sound similar when spoken. Translators did their best to maintain accuracy of the historic manuscripts.

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