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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Hebrew Yavan', יָוָן , of foreign origin), the name of a person (borrowed from that of his descendants) and also of a city.

1. (Sept. Ι᾿αύαν in Genesis 10:2; Genesis 10:4; Ι᾿αϋάν in 1 Chronicles 1:5; 1 Chronicles 1:7; ῞Ελλάς in Isaiah 66:19 and Ezekiel 27:13; elsewhere οἱ ῞Ελληνες ) The fourth son of Japheth,-and the father of Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim (Genesis 10:2; Genesis 10:4; 1 Chronicles 1:5; 1 Chronicles 1:7). B.C. post 2514. Hence for the country settled by his posterity, supposed to be Greece, i.e. Ionia (whence the Heb. name), which province, settled by colonists from the mother country, was better known to the Orientals, as lying nearer to them, than Hellas itself (see Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 587). It is mentioned among the places where the Syrians obtained articles of traffic (comp. Bochart, Phaleg, 3, 3), namely, brass and slaves (Ezekiel 27:13), as a distant country among the "isles of the sea" (Isaiah 66:19). Alexander the Great is styled king of Javan.("Graeca," Daniel 8:21; Daniel 10:20; Daniel 11:2; Zechariah 9:13). In Joel 3:6, the patronymic occurs בְּנֵיאּהִיְּוָנֵים, sons of "the Grecians," like the poetic υιες Ἀχαίων. (See ETHNOLOGY).

This name, or its analogue, is found as a designation of Greece not only in all the Shemitic dialects, but also in the Sanskrit, the Old Persic, and the Egyptian (Knobel. Volkertafel. p. 78 sq.), and the form Ι᾿άονες appears in Homer as the designation of the early inhabitants of Attica (Iliad, 13, 685), while Aeschylus and Aristophanes make their Persian interlocutors call the Greeks Ι᾿άονες (Aeschylus, Pers. 174, 055, 911, etc.; Aristoph. Acharn. 104, 106), and the Scholiast on the latter of these passages from Aristophanes expressly says, Πάντας τοὺς ῞Ελληνας Ι᾿άονας οἱ βάρβαροι ἐκάλουν. "The occurrence of the name in the cuneiform inscriptions of the time of Sargon (about B.C. 709), in the form of Yavnan or Yunan, as descriptive of the isle of Cyprus, where the Assyrians first came in contact with the power of the Greeks further shows that its use was not confined to the Hebrews, but was widely spread throughout the East. The name was probably introduced into Asia by the Phoenicians, to whom the Ionians were naturally better known than any other of the Hellenic races on account of their commercial activity and the high prosperity of their towns on the western coast of Asia Minor. The extension of the name westward to the general body of the Greeks, as they became known to the Hebrews through the Phoenicians, was but a natural process, analogous to that which we have already had to notice in the case of Chittim. It can hardly be imagined that the early Hebrews themselves had any actual acquaintance with the Greeks; it is, however, worth mentioning, as illustrative of the communication which existed between the Greeks and the East, that, amongst the artists who contributed to the ornamentation of Esarhaddon's palaces, the names of several Greek artists appear in one of the inscriptions (Rawlinson's Herod. 1, 483). At a later period the Hebrews must have gained considerable knowledge of the Greeks through the Egyptians. Psammetichus (B.C. 6.64-610) employed Ionians and Carians as mercenaries, and showed them so much favor that the war-caste of Egypt forsook him in a body: the Greeks were settled near Bubastis, in a part- of the country with which the Jews were familiar (Herod. 2, 154). The same policy was followed by the succeeding monarchs, especially Amasis (B.C. 571-525),who gave the Greeks Naucratis as a commercial emporium. It is tolerably certain that any information which the Hebrews acquired in relation to the Greeks must have been through the indirect means to which we have adverted; the Greeks themselves were very slightly acquainted with the southern coast of Syria until the invasion of Alexander the Great. The earliest notices of Palestine occur in the works of Hecataeus (B.C. 594-486), who mentions only the two towns Canytis and Cardytts; the next are in Herodotus, who describes the country as Syria Palestina, and notices incidentally the towns Ascalon, Azotus, Ecbatama. (Batannea?), and Cadytis, the same as the Canytis of Hecateus, probably Gaza. These towns were on the border of Egypt, with the exception of the uncertain Ecbatana, and it is' therefore highly probable that no Greek had, down to this late period, travelled through Palestine" (See GREECE).

2. (Sept. οινος v. r, Ι᾿ωνάν, Ι᾿αουάν) A region or town of Arabia Felix, whence' the Syrians' procured manufactures of iron, cassia, and calamus (Ezekiel 27:19); probably the Javan mentioned in the Camû s (p. 1817) as" a town of Yemen," and "a port of Ispahan." Some confound this with the preceding name (Credner and Hitzig, on Joel 3:6; see Meier on Joel, p. 166), but Tuch (on Genesis p. 210) suggests that it may have been so named as having been founded by a colony of Greeks. By a change of reading (see Havernick, ad loc.) in an associated word (מֵאוּזָל.,from Uzal, for מְאוּזִּל, spun, i.e. thread), some critics have thought they find another place mentioned in the same vicinity (see Bochart, Phaleg, I, 2, 21; Rosenmü ller, Bibl. Geog. 3:296-305). Javelin is the rendering in the Auth. Vers. of two Heb. terms: חֲנַית(chanith', so called from its flexibility), a lance (1 Samuel 18:10-11; 1 Samuel 19:9-10; 1 Samuel 20:33; elsewhere "spear"); and רֹמִח(ro'mach, from its piercing), a lance for heavy-armed troops (Numbers 25:7; "lancet," i.e. spear-head, 1 Kings 18:28; "bucklder," incorrectly, 1 Chronicles 12:8; elsewhere "spear"). (See ARMOR).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Javan'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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