Jews and Arabs are cousins
"Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a
common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes." So states the title of an
article published by a team of researchers in the Publications of the National
Academy of Sciences, May 2000. (On the internet it may be found at:
The article describes genetic research and analysis (at a
level of sophistication and scientific exactitude impossible until recently)
conducted upon cross sections of men in various Jewish communities (both in
Israel and elsewhere) and other non-Jewish Middle Eastern communities. Bypassing
all the mathematical data and statistical tables published in the article, we
may simply note several of the conclusions:
So... despite their intense hatreds for one another, and their
religious differences and rivalries, the Jews and the Arabs are demonstrated to
be, genetically-speaking, "cousins"!
- The level of genetic divergence among Jewish
populations is very low despite their high degree of geographic dispersion. In
fact the level of genetic divergence among different Jewish populations is
considerably less than that found among other groups in the study. Put in simple
terms, the average Jew in London, let us say, shares much more commonality of
genetic likeness with the average Jew in North Africa or Israel than he does
with his non-Jewish next-door neighbor. (This conclusion provides solid proof of
the Biblical assumption that, although scattered among the nations of the earth,
the Jews have by and large maintained their racial identity -- see, eg, Jer
30:11 -- while other ancient peoples have mingled and submerged themselves in
one another, until their Bible-era ancestors are largely unidentified and
- The extremely close affinity of
Jewish and non-Jewish Middle Eastern populations supports the hypothesis of a
common Middle Eastern origin. In other words, the average Jew -- wherever he
lives -- shares a greater degree of genetic commonality (and therefore has a
higher proportion of common ancestry) with the average Palestinian or Jordanian
or Syrian than with other non-Jewish groups outside of the Middle
- In summary, the combined results suggest
that Jews and Arabs may trace a common ancestry to a Middle Eastern source
population about 4,000 years ago!
Just who are the progenitors of the modern-day Arabs? The
answer of Genesis is obvious: Terah was the father of Abraham (Gen 11:26), and
the grandfather of Lot (Gen 11:27) -- who accompanied his uncle Abraham to the
Land of Promise. From Abraham were descended Ishmael (Gen 16:15), and the sons
of Keturah (Gen 25:1-4), and -- through Isaac -- Esau (Gen 25:25), the father of
the Edomites (Gen 36:9). From Lot were descended Moab and Ammon (Gen 19:37,38).
(Most of the nations of Psa 83, as a matter of fact, are of this
But what of the other peoples of the Land of Palestine, the
nations mentioned in Gen 15:18-21, who were there when Abraham and Lot first set
foot upon the Land -- the Amorites and Canaanites and Jebusites and so forth?
And what about the Philistines, who arrived in the Land a bit later, but made
such an impact upon Israel? Where have these peoples gone? Have they completely
disappeared? The simple answer is: they are the Arabs also!
What evidently has happened is that, since the beginning, the
(Arab) descendants of Abraham and Lot have intermarried with the Canaanitish
peoples (something Isaac and Jacob and the nation of Israel were strictly
forbidden to do: Gen 24:3; 28:6,7; Deu 7:1-3; etc) so as to create, over time, a
mixed or mongrel people. There are in fact Bible examples of just this sort of
mingling of "seed":
"While he [Ishmael] was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for
him from Egypt" (Gen 21:21).
"He [Esau] married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite [cp Exo 23:23; Jos 1:4],
and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to
Isaac and Rebekah" (Gen 26:34,35).
Other instances of the Hebrew word "ereb" -- signifying
"mixed" or "mingled" -- related to peoples are:
So the "mixed peoples" of the Middle East are the "Arabs" --
with blood ties to the original Canaanitish peoples (the ten nations of Gen 15)
as well as the corrupted descendants of Abraham (the majority of the nations
enumerated in Psa 83).
- 1Ki 10:15: "all the Arabian kings".
- Jer 25:20,24: "the foreign (or
'mingled': AV) peoples... the Philistines... all the kings of Arabia, and all
the kings of the foreign (mingled) peoples... in the desert".
- Jer 50:37:
"all the foreigners (or 'mingled people': AV) that are in the midst of her
- Eze 30:5: "Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all Arabia (or
'the mingled people': AV)".
- Neh 13:1,3: "Ammonite and Moabite...all who were
of foreign descent (or 'the mixed multitude':
It stands to reason, therefore, that -- whereas the Jews are
still a distinct ethnic group, as the genetic study suggests -- the other Middle
East natives are truly an altogether "mixed" bag, being at the same time the
descendants of the Biblical Ishmaelites, Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, as
well as the Biblical Canaanites, Philistines, Amorites, etc, etc!
It may be impossible today to find a single people who can be
conclusively linked with the Edomites, for example [see Appendix], or with the
Philistines, or with any other of the ancient Middle Eastern national enemies of
Israel. But these ancient bloodlines did not just disappear, and these nations
did not simple "evaporate"; instead, they were blended, and blended again, until
there emerged a truly "mixed" (or "Arab") peoples across the whole of the Land
of Promise -- the "melting pot" descendants of all the tribes and nations of Gen
15 and Psa 83.
So, when the Bible presents us with evidently "Last Days"
prophecies that refer to the nations of Genesis (such as Ammon or Moab or Edom
or Philistia), we may not be able to identify any single modern nation in the
Middle East as the exclusive and pure descendants of that particular ancient
nation. But nevertheless we may assume that either: (1) the prophecy refers
particularly to the portion of the whole Arab "mixed" race that occupies the
same territory as the ancient nation, or (2) the prophecy refers to the whole of
the Arab "world", because the blood of ancient Edomites or Moabites or whoever
flows in all their veins, or (3) both!
Both these groups of peoples (the primarily "Hamite" peoples
of Gen 15, and the primarily "Semitic" peoples of Psa 83) have demonstrated,
historically, intense hatred for the Jews -- fulfilling the Old Testament
"types": Ishmael versus Isaac, and Esau versus Jacob, and Canaanite and
Philistine versus Israelite. Now, with the admixture of a unifying religion --
Islam -- these Arabs... whether they live in Jordan, or Lebanon, or Syria, or
Saudi Arabia, or the West Bank, or Gaza... all view the Jews as great
"infidels", who have no real claim to the Land of Palestine.
And the stage is set for the final act in a 4,000-year-old
drama: the climactic struggle between Jew and Arab, between the modern "Goliath"
and the modern "David", as it were, on the mountains of Israel.
Appendix: Edomites and Nabataeans
It has sometimes been suggested that Old Testament prophecies
about Edom, for example, cannot be fulfilled by any modern nation or nations --
because there are simply no surviving descendants of the ancient Edomites today.
But a scholarly study suggests very much the opposite. J.R. Bartlett, writing in
the Palestine Exploration Quarterly 111 (1979), ("From Edomites to Nabataeans: A
Study in Continuity"), does not believe that the Edomites became extinct, as
some assert. Rather, he offers considerable evidence -- archaeological,
cultural, and linguistic, as well as historical -- to the effect that the
ancient Edomites, being overrun and dominated by the Nabataeans (the descendants
of the Biblical Nebaioth: Gen 25:13), simply survived by intermarrying with
their conquerors to produce a new people: a mixture of Nabataean and Edomite
which survives to this day in the Bedouin Arabs.