1 Chronicles 1:5–16 (ESV)

5 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

In what seems to be a rush, the Chronicler reviews, with very little comment, all the nations of mankind in 1 Chronicles 1:1–16. He uses both linear and segmented forms in this section of the genealogy.

After Noah, the list branches into three directions, for the three sons of Noah, namely, Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Chronicler reverses the birth order and starts with Japheth (1 Chronicles 1:5–8), followed by Ham (1 Chronicles 1:8–16) and finally Shem (vv. 1 Chronicles 1:17–27). As is often the case with the Chronicler, the name order is reversed to draw attention to the last person mentioned, through whom God intends to further his purposes. It is from the offspring of Shem (the Semitic peoples) that the nation Israel, the Messianic nation, would come.

Concerning the sons of Noah, there is much similarity with the Table of the Nations in Genesis 10:1–32). That chapter lists a total of seventy descendants in the family lines of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Seventy, which is a multiple of two numbers that suggest completeness (seven, the number of days of creation week; ten, the number of fingers), would have suggested to ancient Israelites a satisfying completeness to the quantity of persons and nations that came into being after the flood.1