Groups of people in the Bible

The Descendants of Noah--Table of Nations
In Genesis 10-11, the Bible lists the descendants of Noah. Noah had 3 sons:  Japheth, Ham, and Shem. Noah's descendants moved to different parts of the Middle East.

1st generation 2nd generation 3rd generation 4th generation 5th generation 6th generation

Japheth's descendants moved to the areas that are now called Greece and Turkey

Japheth Gomer Ashkenaz      
  Javan Elishah      

Ham's descendants moved to the areas of northern Africa, Canaan, and Syria.

Ham Cush Seba      
    Raamah Sheba    
    Nimrod--a very powerful leader, built the Tower of Babel      
  Mizraim Ludim      
    Casluhim the Philistines    
  Canaan Sidon      
    Canaan's descendants were these groups:      
    the Girgasite      
    the Jebusite      
    the Amorite      
    the Hivite      
    the Arkite      
    the Sinite      
    the Arvadite      
    the Zemarite      
    the Hamathite      

Shem's descendants moved to the areas of northern Syria and the modern country of Iraq.

Shem Elam        
  Arphaxad Salad Eber Peleg Reu--Abraham was a descendant of this line. Abraham was from the family of Shem, or a Shemite. Later, this became our word Semite.  Also, he is a descendant of Eber. Later, this became the word Hebrew.
        Joktan Almodad,
  Aram Uz--founded the city of Damascus in Syria      
    Hul--may have lived in the area called Armenia      


When the Israelites moved into Canaan, these were the people who were living there.

Map from

More information about some of the groups of people in the Bible.

Amalekites--They were the descendants of Amalek. Amalek was Esau's grandson. The Amalekites lived in the south near Mt. Sinai. The Israelites fought a war with the Amalekites soon after they left Egypt. The Israelites fought wars with the Amalekites after the moved into Canaan. In the book of 1 Samuel, God told King Saul to destroy the Amalekites. Saul did not obey God.  He did not destroy the Amalekites then.  Later, in the book of 1 Chronicles, the Amalekites were destroyed.

Ammonites--The Ammonites lived northeast of the Dead Sea. They were descendants of Abraham's brother, Lot. Lot had a son named Ben-ammi. Ben-ammi was the father of the Ammonite people. The main city in the area of Ammon was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon.  In the modern country of Jordan, the capital city is Amman. Amman is in the same place as Rabbath Ammon.

Amorites--The Amorites lived near the Jordan River. In the book of Genesis, Abraham helped the Amorite king. But later, the Amorites and Israelites fought wars. When the Israelites were traveling toward Canaan, 2 Amorite kings fought wars with them. The Amorite kings were named Sihon and Og.

Babylonians--The Babylonians lived in the area that is now the country of Iraq. Their big city was Babylon. The whole area was called Babylonia. Abraham was born in the city of Ur in Babylonia. Later, the Babylonian king named Nebuchadnezzar attacked the Israelites. He destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. He took many of the Israelites back to Babylonia.

Canaanites--The Canaanites were merchants. They traveled around the area and sold things. They were famous for purple dye. They made the dye from a special sea animal. Many Canaanites lived by the Mediterranean Sea. They also lived further to the east. The Canaanites worshiped many false gods. God warned the Israelites not to worship their false gods. Some people who study history think the Canaanites are the same as the Phoenicians. Other people think they are different.

The Chaldeans also lived in the area that is now the country of Iraq.  

Girgashites were in the same group of people as the Hivites.

They originally lived in the countries that we call Turkey and Syria. They were the first people to use iron to make tools.

--The name means "villagers" or "midlanders". They were a group of people who lived in the middle of Canaan and also in the northern part of Canaan.  They may have been related to the Hittites. They may also have been called "Horites".

Jebusites--This group of people lived near the city now called Jerusalem. When they lived there, they called the city Jebus.

Midianites--Descendants of Abraham and his concubine Ketura. The Midianites lived south of Canaan in the area near Sinai. Moses' wife was a Midianite.

Moabites--The Moabites lived in the area of Moab.  Moab is east of Canaan. The Moabites are descendants of Lot. Lot was Abraham's brother. Lot had 2 sons--Moab and Ben-Ammi.  Ben-Ammi was the father of the Ammonite people. Moab was the father of the Moabite people. A Moabitess (woman Moabite) in the Bible was Ruth.

--They lived in the areas in the southern and southwestern part of Canaan. Their name means "villagers". They may have lived in the open in town with no walls around them.

Philistines-- The Philistines lived near the sea. They probably came from another place, possibly Greece. They had 5 big cities:  Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. The Philistines were skilled in iron smithing.  This means that they took iron from the ground and made it into thing they used, like tools and weapons for fighting in wars. They fought many wars with the Israelites. Two of the Philistines mentioned in the Bible were Delilah and Goliath. In the book of 1 Samuel, the Philistines stole the Ark of the Covenant. God punished them, and then they returned it to the Israelites. 

Phoenicians--The Phoenicians lived in the area that is now called Lebanon. Some people who study history think the Phoenicians are the same as the Canaanites. Other people think they are different. Some of the cities of the Phoenicians were Sidon, Byblos, Tyre, and Ras Shamra. The Phoenicians were skilled with boats and ships.

Sidonians--The Sidonians came from the city of Sidon in Phoenicia.  A Sidonian who was mentioned in the Bible was Jezebel.


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