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Elishah (Hebrew: אלישה, ʼElīshāh; "God is Salvation") was the eldest son of Javan and brother of Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim according to Genesis 10:4 .



Many of them settled on Cyprus where the Canaanites called them Alashiyans.[1] That is why Cyprus was called the island of the Ionians by the Assyrians.[2]

Professor Sayce candidly states that there appears to have been two branches of Elishah. One in Cyprus and Greece and another in the Aleian plain of Cilicia.[3] Robert Gayre tells us that anciently Gaza was called Ione; the sea between Egypt and Philistia was called Ionian, western Lydia and Caria were called Ionian and there was also a people called Ion in Asia Minor (where Khittim and Tarsus were). As Gayre states, the whole eastern Mediterranean was associated with Javan.[4] Gayre also believes that there were two branches of Elishah: the traditional one in Cyprus while other resided to the east of Cilicia, Asia Minor.[5] Where is the branch which dwelt in Asia Minor today?

Eastern Elishah

As has already been noted, the peoples of Elishah on Cyprus were known as Alisha, Alisiya,[6] Alasia, Ellasar, Larsa, and Alsa. One might see then how changeable, malleable and elastic that name was. On Cyprus we also find the Phoenicians (Canaanites), for Cyprus was a Phoenician colony.[7]

It is very probable that the Arkite, Hittite, and Hivite tribes of the Phoenicians are among certain descendants of Japheth. These two peoples, then, were definately connected. In Ezekiel 22:7 , for instance, mention is made of fine linen made in Egypt and dye and purple from the isles of Elishah.

Where are these Elishah-Phoenicians today? The Bible Dictionary has the following to say:

Elishah has been thought to be Elis, Eolis, Helles, etc. ... Not only Greece but Italy, and Western Africa have been suggested ... no one particular island was in any case intended.[8]

Eolis or Aeolis was the coast of Peloponnesia, itself meaning the "land of Elos" or Elishah. Where are the Peloponnesians of the eastern branch of Elishah? Very likely in Polynesia. How like the eastern branch of Kittim dwelling in northern China (Cathay) and the eastern branch of Tarshish in Japan, whilst the western branches dwelt in southern Europe.

The Greeks also referred to Elishah as Μαορι, Maori[9] and Smith's Classical Dictionary[10] associates Maori or Mauri and also Milyæ with Tiras, a people living in geographic proximity of Elishah. These two tribes of Tiras still are in proximity to a branch of the Peloponnesians (or Pelonesians, Polonesians or Polynesians). The indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand are known as the Māori. What major upset caused the Elishahites of Cyprus and surrounding areas to migrate? The Philistines. They were displaced by the Philistines (c. 1200 BC) who were en route to Palestine.[11] Let us now trace of the movements of the Elishahites.

Migrations into the Pacific

From Cyprus and southern Anatolia, the Polynesians migrated further into Asia. Suggs, author of the now famous Island Civilizations of Polynesia mentions a certain Percy Smith, a New Zealand researcher who, in 1904, postulated that the Polynesians originated in Asia in the land of Atia-te-varinga-nui. This was where there was a stone temple—palace of King Tu-te-rangi-marama, where he reigned. After infighting and quarreling, the Polynesians were forced out to Java and eventually migrated to the islands of the Pacific.[12] Keep the "Land of Atia" in mind for we shall be returning to investigate it shortly.

An admirable concise account of the wanderings of the Polynesians is given by S. Percy Smith ... who believes that the parent stock can be traced to India about 450 BC, and a migration to Java took place in 65 BC, where they resided for about a hundred years.[13]

Notice they were forced out to the island of Java and southeast Asia. They found the pygmy Negrito people already there. Much later the Majapahit Empire arose in Malaysia and Indonesia. The name "japahit" quite possibly derives originally from Japheth or Javan. Probably, various Canaanite tribes migrated with Elishah into the region, for there are tribes with features more akin to European ones, with wavy or curly hair:

The early population of Indo-China, the Malay Peninsula, and the Malay Archipelago was not Mongol but, of the same racial type as the Mediterranean.[14]

This may include the Gergasi and Arvadi tribes, descendants of Canaan.

Some researchers have even claimed to have been able to trace the Polynesians back to northwest India and Persia. Suggs admits that there are some vague resemblances between the Polynesian and Semitic languages.[15] Barry Fell, author of America B.C., has plenty of proofs in this remarkable book of how the Polynesian language is derived from the Egypto-Libyan group. Polynesian also has a very strong Anatolian element.[16] Anatolia is Asia Minor—where a branch of Elishah originally lived, as was previously mentioned.

Note that he connected it also to the North African languages. There was a people in northwest Africa called the Mauri or Maurya. One cannot be dogmatic and say that the Polynesian Māori, or a branch of them were there at some ancient period in time. As far as one can tell, the name Maurya is derived from Moor. However a Mongoloid-type of some sort may have dwelt in northern Africa at some time to have produced the Hottentots who appear to be a mixed people from Negroids and a Mongoloid race, dwelling today in southern Africa.

In any event, the Māori claim in their traditions to have come from Aryavarata, which was in northwest India according to researcher Kalyanaraman.[17] Where were they before that? Remember the land of Atia in Asia mentioned earlier? Another tradition states that they came from a land called Raiatea (Tahiti). A Raetia was found just northeast of the Italian Alps near Thrace, where the sons of Tiras once dwelt. An island in the Society group in the South Pacific, Raiatea, may well be named after it. Maori was located in ancient times in an area adjacent to Thrace (where some descendants of Tiras dwelt). He would have ended up joining the Polynesians and not the children of Tiras. It is no wonder Elishah was called Maori by the Greeks. Although the Maurya Empire of northern India was not composed of Māoris it may be a name lasting in that area of the world long after the Māoris left for Java. This is mere conjecture and is raised here for further thought.

Spread of the Name "Malay"

You would recall the tribe of Milyæ mentioned earlier. When the Polynesians moved through southeast Asia, they migrated through the peninsula which was named Malaya (Malaysia) after Milyæ. The peoples of Ashkenaz who settled that area became known as the Malays. The name Mala appears all over southern Asia. Below is a list of these:

The names Malawi in Africa and Malanchu province in Peru may be related to Malaya,[19] because the Milyæ may have traded with them anciently.[20] Linguists know that the Polynesian language very definately belongs to the Tai–Kadai-Malayo-Polynesian language family. The language found in Madagascar (Malagasy) resembles the Māori-Polynesian language.[21]

Certain Ashkenazic Indonesians and Malays at one time, historians inform us, settled in Madagascar. Not only does the language of Madagascar have a close resemblance to the Malayo-Polynesian family, states Sibree in his work The Great African Island, but so do the people.[22] Perhaps some of the Māori ventured there too as we have the nearby island of Mauritius.

Smith's Classical Dictionary referred to a further tribe associated with Tiras but evidently had migrated with Elishah, "Gasgar." Gasgar settled in Mada-gascar, and have now been absorbed into the local population. The name means "Gasgars of the land of Madai," suggesting that the Polynesians were once in Persia as Suggs reported.

Which Route Did Elishah Take?

The routes of the migrations of the Polynesian peoples into the Pacific is a sore point between many researchers. Some feel they came from the coast of China, others say from the Americas. Which viewpoint is correct?

The majority of researchers trace the Polynesians, through archaeological evidence and dating methods, back to southeast Asia and before that to southern China.[23][24] Their physical type, culture and their language connect them with southeast Asia, not the Americas.[25] It would be impossible and futile to list all the proofs of how they came out of Asia, but a good summary may be found in Suggs' chapter "Out of Asia".[26] If at all possible, it is well worth obtaining this work from your local library.

Thor Heyerdahl has written several works on the Polynesians and American Indians. In one book, Early Man and the Ocean, he mentions, like others have before him, the three clear strains within the Polynesian peoples:

1. Those in the west slightly mixed with the Melanesians and Micronesians, very dark and have curly hair.
2. Those in the east, similar to the American Indians with a touch of Asiatic Mongoloid.
3. A further Europid element, these had fairer skins, were tall reddish or brown hair and some are described by physical anthropologists as having a prominent nose and Arab-Semite features.[27]

He described the skin color of the latter group as being much like southern Europeans.[28] In 1772, Cozet, a French navigator with Marion du Fresne's expedition, came to the Bay of Islands and had this to say of the Ngaphuhi Māori tribe: "Their color is generally speaking like the people of Southern Europe."[29]

Generally, the Polynesians as a whole have a yellow-brown skin, wavy black hair with a "rare" reddish tinge. They range from dolicocephalic to brachycephalic with the latter dominating. Serological work into the Polynesian blood type shows that those in the east, nearest America, have blood similar to the Indians of America (type O). But types B and AB are found to a sizable degree in the west. Their blood group O dominates overall, showing that they are a different people to the rest of Asia.[30] Like all nations, those on the periphery have mixed with the peoples close by (for example those in the west mixed with the Melanesians).

But, does the similar blood type between Polynesians and American Indians prove that they came out of America and not Asia as Heyerdahl postulates? His theory that the eastern and central Polynesians are directly related to Peruvian Indians because both have high percentages of type O and low percentages of type A and with the absence of types AB and B, holds little water by itself because such diverse groups as the Labrador Eskimos and Australian Aboriginals have similar blood types as do the Russians with the Ituri Pygmies. We need more evidence than that.

Yet, Heyerdahl presents many fascinating facts to prove that the Polynesians were related to the early Peruvians. There are many resemblances between the two which cannot be overlooked.[31] To further add to the problems of historians, the peoples of Easter Island claim their legends to have come from the east and not the west. And some Māoris (some of whom appear to be strikingly similar to American Indians in certain photographs) claim to have come from Mexico around 3,400 years ago, settled for a time in Peru before setting sail 1,500 years ago for New Zealand which they reached in a series of migrations and stops approximately 250 years later.

Some have postulated that the Polynesians came to the Pacific in two waves, both from Asia.[32] The genealogies of the western Polynesians (the names of whose gods originated in China[33]) go back only 700 years, while those in the east to 4,000 years, which represents more evidence of two separate migrations.

But, instead of both migrations coming out of Asia, the eastern Polynesians, who are fairer, fairly dolicocephalic and have blood type O, came out of Peru.[34] The other migration came out of Asia, settling in western and central Polynesia. The latter being descended from Elishah. Undoubtedly, a relationship between the Americas and Polynesia is established by Heyerdahl. Many items of similarity, such as the Māori totem poles which are very similar to that of the Americas or their head-dresses, are further proof of such contacts.

Polynesian Middle Eastern Origins

Next are quotes from several authors who make statements that, when placed together with the evidence already presented, throws further light on this study. Roberts wrote a book Ancient Hawaii Music published in 1926. She writes that far from being universal, the conch shell trumpet originated in ancient Crete and among some other early Mediterranean cultures. In India the conch trumpet was supposedly introduced by the god Krishna, a great deity of Hinduism.[35]

She also shows that by old Spanish accounts the conch trumpet was part of the ceremonial equipment of the Aztecs of Mexico.[36] Another author, Best, compares the Polynesian god Tu or Ku, with the Assyrian god of death Tu and the Egyptian word Tum, meaning "setting sun."[37] In naming their homes the Marquesan Islanders, in particular, have shown a pronounced predilection for the prefix Hana, which in some parts of the group appears in the names of almost every settlement. Fornander, writing in Polynesian Race. Its Origin and Migrations, says—

Hana, name of numerous districts and lands in the Hawaiian, Marquesas, and Tahitian groups ... refer themselves ultimately, doubtless, to Sana, one of the ancient Cushite emporiums in southern Arabia.[38]

All of this demonstrates ancient contacts between these diverse peoples when they all reside in the Middle East after the flood. And Cowan, writing in The Maoris, says that the Māoris descend from the Phoenicians[39]—the very people Elishah identified themselves with as was pointed out earlier.

Of further evidence is their creation legend which pre-dates Christian missionaries:
Io dwelt within the breathing space of immensity. The universe was in darkness; with water everywhere, there was no glimmer of dawn, no clearness, no light. And he began by saying words, that he might cease from being inactive, 'Darkness, become a light possessing darkness.' And at once light appeared.

Io then looked to the waters which compassed him about and spake a forth time, saying, 'ye Waters of Taikama, be ye separate. Heaven be formed.' Then the sky became suspended. 'Bring forth thou Tupuhoronuku.' And at once the moving earth lay stretched abroad. (Ancient chant of Ngati Kahungunu Maori)

This compares well with the Genesis record (Genesis 1:1-10 ) and clearly has a Middle Eastern origin.

Then we have Cohane's remarks in his marvelous work, The Key:

There is a large category of Eloah/Aloha place-names in Pacific where an initial vowel would appear to have been lost over the centuries, in Loaloa, once Aloaloa (Eloah-Eloah)? Those Loa names continue in an unbroken chain back to the Mediterranean ...[40]

The above represents additional proof of the traceable roots of the Polynesians back to the Mediterranean region—of course, for they are descendants of Elishah.

See Also

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  1. Douglas, JD (1972) New Bible Dictionary. Inter-Varsity Press, London. (et al): pp. 366, 867
  2. Sayce, AH (1928) Races of the Old Testament. Lutterworth Press, Surrey: p. 75
  3. Ibid.
  4. Gayre, R (1973) The Syro-Mesoptamian Ethnology as Revealed in Genesis X. The Amorial, Edinburgh: p. 51
  5. Ibid: p. 52
  6. Ibid: 51
  7. Ibid: p. 50
  8. NN (1887) The Bible Dictionary. Cassell & Co, London: p. 383
  9. NN (ND) The Nations of Genesis 10. USA. Unpublished paper: p. 1.
  10. Smith, W (1894) Classical Dictionary. New York: art, "Tiras."
  11. Wiseman, DJ (1955) "Genesis 10: Some Archaeological Considerations," Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute (Vol. LXXXVII). (Renamed Faith and Thought): p. 18
  12. Suggs, RC (1968) The Island Civilizations of Polynesia. New American Library, New York: p. 48
  13. Haddon, AC (1912) The Wanderings of Peoples. Oxford University Press: p. 36
  14. Field, H (1939) "Contributions To The Anthropology of Iran," Field Museum Of Natural History, Chicago, (Vol. 29), No. 1: p. 521
  15. Ibid.
  16. Fell, B (1976) America B.C. Demeter, New York: p. 178
  17. Kalyanaraman, A (1969) Aryatarangini. The Saga of the Indo-Aryans. Asia Publishing House, London, (Vol. 2): p. 333
  18. Debets, G (1974) "Essay on the Graphical Presentation of the Genealogical Classification of Human Races," in Bromley, Y (ed). Soviet Ethnology and Anthropology Today. Mouton, The Hague: p. 175
  19. Ibid.
  20. Kuttner, R (1967) Race and Modern Science. Social Press, New York: p. 14
  21. Kalyanaraman, A (1969) Aryatarangini. The Saga of the Indo-Aryans. Asia Publishing House, London, (Vol. 2): pp. 332, 175
  22. Sibree, J (1880) The Great African Island. Chapters on Madagascar. Trubner & Co, London: p. 102
  23. Howells, W (1973) The Pacific Islanders. AH & AW Reed, Wellington: pp. 295-96
  24. Suggs 1968: p. 32
  25. Kalyanaraman 1969 vol 2: 443
  26. Suggs, RC (1968) The Island Civilizations of Polynesia. New American Library, New York: Ch. 6
  27. Heyerdahl, T (1978) Early Man and the Ocean. George Allen & Unwin: p. 290
  28. Ibid: p. 98
  29. Another researcher, Suggs feels that they are a mixture of Caucasoids, Mongoloid, and Negritiod elements but being over-whelmingly Caucasoid. Obviously they are not overwhelmingly Caucasians, but his observations are very useful.
  30. Huxley, F (1974) Peoples of the World In Colour. Blandford Press, London: p. 143
  31. Kalyanaraman, A (1969) Aryatarangini. The Saga of the Indo-Aryans. Asia Publishing House, London, (Vol. 2): p. 447
  32. Suggs, RC (1968) The Island Civilizations of Polynesia. New American Library, New York: p. 48-49
  33. Heyerdahl, T (1978) Early Man and the Ocean. George Allen & Unwin: pp. 182-191
  34. Kalyanaraman, A (1969) Aryatarangini. The Saga of the Indo-Aryans. Asia Publishing House, London, (Vol. 2): p. 361
  35. Roberts, HH (1926) Ancient Hawaiian Music. BP Bishop Music Bulletin, Honolulu: p. 352
  36. Ibid.
  37. Best, E (1924) The Maoris. (2 Vols). Wellington, New Zealand: pp. 58, 109, 110
  38. Fornander, A (ND) The Polynesian Race. Its Origins and Migrations. London. (Vol 1): p. 12
  39. Cowan, J (1930) The Maori.
  40. Cohane 1973: 186-87

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