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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Joktan

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JOKTAN , according to the genealogical tables in Genesis and 1 Chron., was one of the two sons of Eber, and the father of thirteen sons or races ( Genesis 10:25-30 , 1 Chronicles 1:19-23 ); In the first table it is added that his descendants dwelt from Mesha to Sephar. Though the names of the majority of his sons have not been satisfactorily identified, it is clear that he is represented as the ancestor of the older Arabian tribes. The list of his sons is probably not to be taken as a scientific or geographical classification of the tribes or districts of Arabia, but rather as an attempt on the part of the writer to incorporate in the tables such names of Arabian races as were familiar to him and to his readers. It will be noted that Seba and Havilah occur also as the sons of Cush ( Genesis 10:7 ), the peculiar interest attaching to them having doubtless given rise to a variety of traditions with regard to their origin and racial affinities. The name of Joktan himself, like the names of many of his sons, has not yet been identified or explained. Its identification by the native Arab genealogists with Kahtân , the name of an Arabian tribe or district, is without foundation; there appears to have been no real connexion between the names, their slight similarity in sound having probably suggested their identification. The supposition that Joktan was a purely artificial name devised for the younger son of Eber, in order to serve as a link between the Hebrew and Arab stocks, amounts to little more than a confession that the origin of the name is unknown.

L. W. King.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Joktan'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/j/joktan.html. 1909.

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