Alexander King of Yavans


Reading the book of Daniel, we are coming face to face with the mentioning of Alexander, as ‘king of Javan’.

The question coming to mind is what does the word “Javan” means.

We could find the exact meaning of the word “Yavan” in the book “Genesis: Or, The First Book of Moses. With a Commentary” published in 1873 where it says:

“From Javan was ‘Ionia and the whole Hellenic people’ (Jos ‘Ant.’ i, 6)”

A few references clearly showing that Javans are Greeks, are also in the book “The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians,…” by Charles Rollin.

Page 158.

In order to arrive at any certainty with respect to the first origin of the Grecian nations, we must necessarily have recourse to the accounts we have of it in Holy Scripture.
Javan or Ion, (for in the Hebrew the same letters differently pointed form these two different names,)the son of Japheth, and grandson of Noah, was certainly the father of all those nations that went under the general denomination of Greeks, though he has been looked upon as the father of the Ionians only, which were but one particular nation of Greeks. But the Hebrews, the Chaldeans, Arabians, and others, give no other appellation to the whole body of the Grecian nations, than that of Ionians. And for this reason Alexander, in the predictions of Daniel,’ is mentioned under the name of the king of Javan.’

or in the same book in page 2

These four kings are four horns of the he-goat in the prophecy of Daniel, which came up in the place of the first horn that was broken. The first horn was Alexander, king of Greece, who destroyed the empire of Medes and Persians, designated by the ram with two horns”

According to the book “Alexander the Great” by Lewis Vance Cummings, page 187

Alexander then, recalling the refusal of the high priest of Jerusalem to render assistance during the siege of Tyre, next turned toward that city, a bare three days’ march distant. As the army neared, the people of the city were panic-stricken, but, acting on the advice of the high priest, the citizens, with the priests at their head, met the king outside the gates of the city. Alexander was so impressed at the meeting, especially when shown one of the ancient prophecies that a Greek (literally a man from Javan, i.e., Ionia)  would at last come and free the people from the Persian rule. This prophecy he read to mean himself. He therefore permitted the people of the country to live on under their own laws and system. Josephus says that he then made a short excursion northward into Samaria where he conscripted several thousands of the inhabitants and took them with him. Upon his arrival in Egypt, continues Josephus, he sent the Samarians to garrison the upper Nile post of the Elephantine. He then turned back to Gaza and prepared to march on to Egypt. The time was November. He had spent a whole year in the sieges of the two cities, and that was but a tenth of the time he had left to reign upon this earth.”

The “book of Daniel”, Page 90, by Raymond Hammer is also clear about the meaning of Javan.

21. The Hebrew word for Greece (Javan) is derived from the Greek word ‘Ionian’. The Ionian Greeks lived mainly in Asia Minor, and it was through them that Assyria, Persia and Egypt first came into touch with Greek culture and trade. the first king: the reference here is to Alexander the Great (king of Macedon from 336 B.C. to 323 b.c.) – He was to die without an heir who could succeed him. (He married the daughter of Darius III, the last of the Persian kings, but, in his death, he left only an infant son.)”

From the book of “The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity” by Alonzo Trevier Jones in pages 14-15 we can find:

“33.   From Javan came the Greeks; for in the Hebrew, Dan. 8 : 21 reads “king of Javan;” 10 : 20 “prince of Javan;” and 11 : 2 ” realm of Javan;” instead of “king,” “prince,” and “realm” of “Grecia” or “Greece.” The Revised Version gives Javan in the margin of  each of these places.
34.   “This name, or its analogue, is found as a designation of Greece not only in all the Semitic dialects, but also in the Sanscrit, the Old Persic, and the Egyptian, and the form Iaones appears in Homer as the designation of the early inhabitants of Attica. . . . The occurrence of the name in the cuneiform inscriptions of the time of Sargon, in the form of Yavnan, or Yunant 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.””
35.  The name of Grecia embraced Macedonia , Epirus, Thessaly, Acarnania, Aetolia, Locris, Doris, Phocis, Boeotia, Euboea, Attica, Mnwris. Corinthia. Achaia. Elis. Arcadia. Argolis.  Messene. and Laconia. And this is the country of Javan. Under Alexander the Great the people of Javan spread their empire over all countries from the Adriatic Sea to the River Hyphasis, and their power was recognized by all known nations of the world.”

The conclusion is that the name “Javan” and its derivatives are used by other ancient people to describe Greeks and among them, Macedonians, as it was known also from them that Macedonians were Greeks.